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«Religious Freedom, the Path to Peace». Comment on the Message of Benedict XVI for the Celebration of the XLIV World Day of Peace, 1 January 2011
Religious freedom, together with freedom of tought and conscientious freedom, is at the core of the universal code of human rights and fundamental freedoms. The content of Article 18 of the Universal Declaration is multiplied and strengthened by similar articles included in all principal human rights instruments, either universal or regional.
Religious faith marks in depth the identity of the individual believer in both private and public life. Hence religious freedom should be expressed and protected in accordance with democratic pluralism and positive secularism requirements. In this light religious symbols, that in many cases have become cultural symbols, should not be deleted in the public spaces provided that they are compatible with the paradigm of universal values enshrined in the Universal Declaration. The author argues that in the current situation of multi-culturalisation of societies, religions, especially the monoteistic religions, should endeavour to rediscover their common transcendent roots and fertily contribute to developing intercultural dialogue and inclusion of «all members of the human family» wherever they live.