“We gratefully welcome your commitment to upholding the values underpinning the European Convention on Human Rights, values that unite Europeans. Our aim is to build a united Europe on the basis of common values while respecting our diversity; that is what constitutes our strength and our great asset,” said the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Anne Brasseur, welcoming Pope Francis today when he came to address the Council of Europe at a solemn session gathering all its institutions.
“Our common objective must be to humanise and democratise the process of globalisation,” she continued, with reference to the Pope's address today and his homily in Lampedusa last July in which he condemned “globalised indifference”.
“The religious dimension of intercultural dialogue is at the heart of our preoccupations. I am infinitely grateful to you for your proposal to create a new agora to serve as a platform for dialogue and exchange. This dialogue is more important than ever, in a context where some are preaching violence and seeking to justify the most grave human rights violations in the name of faith, which discredits entire communities and cultures and negates the very essence of religion,” pointed out the PACE President.
“We must stay united to counter that tendency. The representatives of all religions and secular movements must, together, refute all forms of violence and hatred. We must demolish the idea that religion could provide any possible justification for human rights violations and state loudly and clearly that such an idea is a dangerous aberration,” she said.
“There are still many walls throughout the world today and we are well aware of the risk that new ones could be built. These are not just walls of brick but, perhaps even worse, walls in our minds. Together, we must break them down and stop new divisions emerging. To do otherwise would be to betray our core missions,” she concluded.