PRESS RELEASE: Vatican City
Pope Francis received Dr. Pasquale Annicchino at the Vatican at the start of a two-day conference, “International Religious Freedom and the Global Clash of Values.”
Pope Francis stressed a theme critical to the ethical functioning of the global business community: “Religious liberty is not only that of thought or private worship. It is freedom to live according to ethical principles consequent upon the truth found, be it privately or publicly. This is a great challenge in the globalized world, where weak thought — which is like a sickness — also lowers the general ethical level, and in the name of a false concept of tolerance ends up by persecuting those who defend the truth about man and the ethical consequences.”
The conference brought leading scholars, practicing lawyers, diplomats, and representatives of different faiths and of no faith to Rome on June 20-21, 2014. It was jointly sponsored by the Center for Law and Religion and the Center for International and Comparative Law at St. John’s Law and the Department of Law at the Libera Università Maria SS. Assunta (LUMSA), a private Catholic university in Rome.
Last week Dr. Annicchino’s newest article, Is the European Union Going Deep on Democracy and Religious Freedom?, appeared in a special issue of The Review of Faith & International Affairs devoted to “Internationalization of International Religious Freedom Policy.” Recently, he has critiqued the Italian government for not doing enough to address religious freedom, including contributing to the special issues of Formiche (an Italian web magazine) on ISIS and religious freedom, with responses from the former Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs, and the former President of the Italian Chamber of Deputies.