Fight Discrimination Against Christians as Hard as Anti-Semitism Says Vatican

CORDOBA, Spain, June 14, 2005 ( - Speaking at the Conference on Anti-Semitism and on Other Forms of Intolerance sponsored by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), June 8-9, 2005 in Cordoba, Spain, the head of the Vatican delegation called on Europe to halt anti-Christian discrimination.

Archbishop Antonio Canizares of Toledo, Spain, who led the Vatican delegation said, “The Holy See delegation would thus like to underline once more that, in the geographical area covered by this organization, intolerance and discrimination against Christians and members of other religions represent worrying phenomena. And they must be combated with the same determination with which we combat anti-Semitism and discrimination against Muslims.”

Archbishop ChaputDenver Archbishop Charles Chaput, who was sent to the conference as a delegate for the United States, picked up on the same theme.“An equally dangerous trend now dominates other OSCE states, where public expressions of religious faith often seem to be ridiculed as fundamentalism,” he said.“In the name of respecting all religions, a new form of secular intolerance is sometimes imposed. Out of fear of religious fundamentalism, a new kind of secular fundamentalism may be coerced on public institutions and political discourse.”

The secular media which chafes at anti-Semitism but seems extremely lenient with anti-Christian bias received special mention. The Archbishop of Toledo concluded by expressing the hope that the conference “becomes a propitious occasion for the OSCE to commit itself to establishing effective mechanisms and instruments to combat and contrast prejudice and false representations of Christians and members of other religions in the communications media and in the field of education.”

Archbishop Chaput echoed the sentiment saying “various media in the OSCE area now often allow symbols of Christian identity, Christian believers and their faith to be publicly abused.” He cited televisions programs such as “How to cook a crucifix” and airing of sacramental confessions recorded without the confessor’s knowledge as examples.Â

Chaput expressed his hope that the OSCE states, which comprise 55 nations, including the United States, Canada and the countries of Europe and Eurasia, “will do everything in their power to discourage all forms of religious intolerance - including any disrespect for Europe’s own Christian roots.”

As the Vatican representative put it, “It is also necessary to avoid creating a kind of hierarchy of anti-Semitism, discrimination against Muslims and discrimination against Christians.”

Archbishop Chaput noted that the anti-Christian bias was tarnishing Europe’s reputation.“Europe has given the whole world the seeds of democracy. Today’s growing anti-religious and often anti-Christian spirit undermines that witness,” he said.


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