Evangelization: Religious Minorities in Asia: That Christians, and other religious minorities in Asian countries, may be able to practise their faith in full freedom.
The Second Vatican Council, in its Declaration on Religious Liberty, insisted that all people have the right to religious freedom. This includes immunity from coercion on the part of individuals, groups and any other influence: no one is to be forced to act in a manner against his beliefs, in private or public, within reasonable limits.
A Catholic vision of the right to religious freedom is grounded in the dignity of the human person, that dignity being known through reason and the revealed word of God. As it is enshrined in law, it is a civil right, but it is firstly a God given right. Cf. Dignitatis Humanae para 1. This vision of the human person, made in the image of God, our Catholic “anthropology,” is one of the most important contributions Catholics and other believers can bring to public dialogue and discourse, to the debate in the public square.
In this month’s intention, the Holy Father asks us to pray for the freedom of those in Asia to exercise this fundamental freedom, one which many of us here in the UK , Canada and the United States and the rest of the Wwestern World might take for granted.
Points for Meditation: Am I free to exercise my own religion as I see best? Do I restrict the rights of others to practice their religion in my personal, social, or work life? How do I bring the values of my faith to private and public discourse? What is the difference between the two?
Ex 20:2-3 “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me.”
Dt 6:13 “You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.”
See also the Holy Father’s Comments from November 2017 here
The text of the video message reads:
The most striking feature of Asia is the variety of its peoples, who are heirs to ancient cultures, religions and traditions. On this continent, where the church is a minority, the challenges are intense. We must promote dialog among religion and cultures Dialogue is an essential part of the Church’s mission in Asia. Let us prayer that Christians in Asia may promote dialogue, peace and mutual understanding, especially with those of other religions.