Bishops call on European Union for more protection

European Union flags outside EU headquarters in Brussels (CNS/Yves Herman, Reuters)

European bishops have called on the European Union to do more to protect religious freedom as part of efforts to strengthen the bloc’s role as a “global humanitarian, development, economic and peace actor.” Source: CNS.

“Vulnerable religious communities are experiencing discrimination, intolerance and, in some cases, persecution as victims of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes,” the Brussels-based Commission of Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union said in a joint statement with the non-Catholic Conference of European Churches.

“The Union needs to pay particular attention to protecting and promoting freedom of religion or belief in the world – not only as a human right, but also as a strategic dimension of democratic freedom, conflict prevention, and a way to foster social peace, justice and reconciliation,” said the commission, known as COMECE.

The statement followed a July 15 online meeting of Church representatives with the EU’s new Slovenian presidency, which took office on July 1.

It said the EU should update its 2013 Guidelines on Religious Freedom, while “putting in place a mechanism” to reinforce them globally in line with “a new European strategic culture of peace”.

Church leaders repeatedly have called on the EU to link protection of religious rights to its aid and trade packages amid reports of worsening violations across the world.

COMECE said it also wanted to see religious freedom fully restored within the EU itself in the wake of forced church closures despite a current resurgence in coronavirus cases.

FULL STORY

EU bishops’ commission urges action to protect religious freedom (CNS)

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