In a message to a pilgrimage promoted by the Patriarchate of Venice and the "Aid to the Church in Need" Foundation, Francis reiterates that religious freedom constitutes "a fundamental human right that must be recognized because it reflects man’s highest dignity".
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The "serious problem of discrimination that Christians suffer in many parts of the world" because of the denial of religious freedom was remembered by Pope Francis in a message to the young people who will take part in the diocesan pilgrimage promoted by the Patriarchate of Venice and the "Aid to the suffering Church" Foundation.
In the document, signed by the secretary of state Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Francis underlines the objective of the initiative: "to raise public awareness of the tragedy of so many Christians persecuted because of their faith".
The document recalls in many countries "a single religion is imposed, others where there is violent persecution or systematic cultural mockery of the disciples of Jesus" denying religious freedom, when it constitutes instead "a fundamental right of man that must be recognized because it reflects man’s highest dignity ".
The message ends with the Pope's encouragement so that Christians who find themselves in difficult conditions "can stand strong in their trials", feeling the closeness of the whole Catholic community "so as to become a seed of new vitality and hope for the Church".
During the pilgrimage, which begins this afternoon, a particular thought will be addressed to Asia Bibi, while Msgr. Botros Fahim Awad Hanna, Catholic Coptic bishop of Mynia in Egypt, will offer his testimony.