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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Europe’s Catholic, Orthodox leaders say they’ll stand against terrorism

Catholic and Orthodox leaders have pledged to stand together against fundamentalism and terrorism, as well as resisting forces working to erode and destroy religious belief in Europe.

‘Terrorist violence against people considered unbelievers or infidels is the extreme degree of religious intolerance – we unreservedly condemn it and deplore that such acts have developed in the soil of a misguided religious culture,’ the Church representatives said in a joint message on 13th January.

‘The constitutions of our states guarantee the fundamental rights of the human person. Nevertheless, in our societies, forces are always at work to marginalise or even erase religions and their message from the public space. We believe Europe needs more than ever the breath of faith in Christ and the hope it provides.’

The 14-point message was published after a meeting of the European Catholic-Orthodox Forum, co-chaired in Paris by Hungarian Cardinal Peter Erdo, former president of the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences, and Metropolitan Gennadios of Sassima for the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.

It said Catholic and Orthodox bishops deplored ‘crimes that may have been committed in the name of religion,’ but believed their Churches should not be blamed ‘for attitudes of intolerance that are inadmissible nowadays, but used to be shared by societies in the past.’

Picture: People kneel during a 2015 Paris Mass for the 129 victims of coordinated terrorists attacks. Catholic and Orthodox leaders have pledged to stand together against fundamentalism and terrorism, and to resist forces working to erode and destroy religious belief in Europe. (CNS photo/Paul Haring).