Home News Pope Francis renews call to stop using religion to justify violence

Pope Francis renews call to stop using religion to justify violence

Pope Francis marked the UN International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence based on Religion or Belief with a call for the cessation of invoking the divine to rationalize violence. 

In his tweet on Tuesday, the pontiff renewed his “appeal to stop using religions to incite hatred, violence, extremism, and blind fanaticism and to refrain from using the name of God to justify acts of murder, exile, terrorism, and oppression”.

The violation of religious freedom has emerged as a pressing issue in countries representing more than half of the global population, according to a report by the Pontifical Foundation Aid to the Church in Need International (ACN).

In a Vatican News report, Florian Ripka, director of ACN Deutschland said the increased violations of all human rights, including religious freedom, have been caused worldwide by the maintenance and consolidation of power in the hands of autocrats and leaders of fundamentalist groups.

“We are concerned about what is happening in sub-Saharan Africa, in countries like Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali, and Mozambique. In all these countries, we see that the governments are taking less and less action against associations like Boko Haram and the followers of the so-called Islamic State,” said Ripka. 

Ripka added that religious freedom is violated in “ultra-nationalistic countries” such as India. However, he clarified that there is a difference between the north of India and the south, for instance, in Kerela, where, on the whole, there is religious liberty.

ACN also said that some countries are implementing laws that restrict religious freedom or foster discrimination against specific religions. 

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Most victims of religious persecution are from minority religious communities. ACN underscored the need for more interreligious dialogue initiatives, which it said have increased in the past few years. 

Pope Francis and other Church leaders worldwide have expanded their relations with other religious communities, as exemplified by the encyclical Fratelli Tutti and many interreligious meetings. – with reports from Vatican News.

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