Pope: Governments must protect minority Christians
Pope Benedict called on Monday for Pakistan to repeal its anti-blasphemy law and demanded that governments in predominantly Muslim countries do much more to protect minority Christians from violent attacks.
Speaking in his annual address to diplomats days after a senior Pakistani politician who opposed the legislation was assassinated by his own bodyguard, the pope said the Pakistani law was a pretext for violence against religious minorities.
(Photo: Pope Benedict XVI attends an audience with Vatican-accredited diplomats at the Vatican, January 10, 2011. REUTERS/Alessia Pierdomenico)
The pope, who has used many of his addresses in recent weeks to demand religious freedom, renewed his condemnation of attacks on churches that left dozens dead in Egypt, Iraq and Nigeria.
He also called for called for religious freedom in Saudi Arabia, where Christians cannot worship in public, and communist China, which forces Catholics to join an official church.
“The particular influence of a given religion in a nation ought never to mean that citizens of another religion can be subject to discrimination in social life or, even worse, that violence against them can be tolerated,” he told the envoys.
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