Following a meeting between the Holy See's Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews and the Chief Rabbinate of Israel's Delegation for Relations with the Catholic Church in Jerusalem from March 11 to 13, the following statement was issued yesterday. The meeting was presided over by Cardinal Jorge Maria Mejia and Chief Rabbi Shear Yashuv Cohen, and considered the theme: "Freedom of Religion and Conscience and its Limits." "Freedom of choice is derived from God and therefore is not absolute, but must reflect divine will and law," reads the English-language communique. "Accordingly human beings are called to freely obey the divine will as manifested in the Creation and in His revealed word." "Secular society still requires religious foundations to sustain lasting moral values. Critical among these is the principal of the sanctity of human life and dignity." "While on principle the State should in no way limit freedom of religion for individuals and communities nor of moral conscience, it has the responsibility to guarantee the wellbeing and security of society, Accordingly it is obliged to intervene wherever and whenever a threat is posed by the promotion, teaching or exercise of violence and specifically terrorism and psychological manipulation in the name of religion." "It is legitimate for a society with a predominant religious identity to preserve its character, as long as this does not limit the freedom of minority communities and individuals to profess their alternative religious commitments, nor limit their full civil rights." "There is a special obligation upon religious leaders and communities to prevent the improper use of religion and to educate towards respect for diversity which is essential in order to ensure a healthy a, stable and peaceful society. In this regard, there is a special role for families, schools and the authorities of State and society as well as the media to impart these values to future generations." The declaration of the bilateral commission concludes with a call to religious and political leaders "to work determinedly to promote peace, dignity, security and tranquillity in the Holy Land for all its peoples and for the world as a whole." Source: VIS
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