Universal Rights in a World of Diversity - The Case of Religious Freedom


Seventeenth Plenary Session, 29 April-3 May 2011
Acta 17, eds M.A. Glendon and H. Zacher
Vatican City, 2012
pp. 700
ISBN 978-88-86726-28-3



La liberté religieuse. Théologie et doctrine sociale (PDF)
Roland Minnerath

Political Pluralism and Religious Liberty: The Teaching of Dignitatis Humanae (PDF)
F. Russell Hittinger

Religionsfreiheit und Gemeinwohl (PDF)
Otfried Höffe


Modernity: Religious Trends (PDF)
Nicos Mouzelis

The Demography of Religions and their Changing Distribution in the World (PDF)
Wolfgang Lutz and Vegard Skirbekk

Religious Freedom in the World Today: Paradox and Promise (PDF)
Allen D. Hertzke

Difficile liberté religieuse (PDF)
Jean Greisch


Religion and Politics in China (PDF)
Hsin-chi Kuan

Experiences in Freedom of Religion in the African Context (PDF)
Abdullahi A. An-Na’im

How Christians and Other Native Minorities are Faring in the Unfolding Arab Turmoil of 2011 (PDF)
Habib C. Malik

What can be Learned from the Indian Experience? Can there be a Legitimate Pluralism in Modes of Protecting Religious Freedom? (PDF)
Ruma Pal

What Can Be Learned from the Experience Of Religious Freedom In Latin America? (PDF)
Pedro Morandé

What can be Learned from the Experiences of Various Societies in Dealing with their Principal Trouble Spots? (PDF)
Iain T. Benson

Religionsfreiheit in Deutschland – alte und neue Fragen (PDF)
Hans Maier

La liberté religieuse et le principe de laïcité en France (PDF)
Michel Fromont

Freedom of Religion in Italy. Problems and Challenges (PDF)
Rocco Buttiglione

Freedom of Religion in the European Convention on Human Rights Under the Influence of Different European Traditions (PDF)
Javier Martínez-Torrón

Religious Freedom in a Worldwide Setting: Comparative Reflections (PDF)
W. Cole Durham, Jr


Law as a Precondition for Religious Freedom (PDF)
Christoph Engel

What Is or Should Be the Role of Religiously Informed Moral Viewpoints in Public Discourse (Especially Where Hotly Contested Issues Are Concerned)? (PDF)
Vittorio Possenti

The Challenges of ‘New Rights’ and Militant Secularism (PDF)
Marta Cartabia

Fundamentalist and Other Obstacles to Religious Toleration (PDF)
Malise Ruthven

What Can the Social Sciences Teach Us About the Relationships Between Cultural Identity, Religious Identity, and Religious Freedom? (PDF)
Roberto Cipriani

Quale ruolo dell’educazione nella promozione della libertà religiosa? (PDF)
Jean-Louis Bruguès

The New Revolution in Communications (PDF)
Mariano Grondona


How can a Universal Right to Freedom of Religion be Understood in the Light of Manifest Differences Among Religions, Cultures, Nations, Schools of Interpretation, Formulations of Rights, and Modes of Implementing Them? (PDF)
Hans F. Zacher

Kant on Politics, Religion, and Secularism (PDF)
Marcello Pera

State and Nation; Church, Mosque and Synagogue – On Religious Freedom and Religious Symbols in Public Places (PDF)
Joseph H.H. Weiler

The Protection of Freedom of Religion Within the Institutional System of the United Nations (PDF)
Christian Walter

La diplomazia pontificia e la libertà religiosa (PDF)
Card. Tarcisio Bertone

Concordats as Instruments for Implementing Freedom of Religion (PDF)
Ombretta Fumagalli Carulli

Ecumenism and Freedom of Religion (PDF)
Card. Kurt Koch

Poland: The Case of Religious Freedom (PDF)
Hanna Suchocka


Religious Freedom in the 21st Century. Old Biases, Fresh Challenges, New Frontiers (PDF)
Mary Ann Glendon


Universal Rights in a World of Diversity

Plenary Session 29 April-3 May 2011 – The 17th Plenary Session of the Pontifical Academy of Social... Read more

The Seventeenth Plenary Session of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences will always be especially memorable for its coincidence with the beatification of our beloved founder, Pope John Paul II, which took place appropriately on Divine Mercy Sunday which also happened to be the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker. This year’s Plenary was the first of two meetings designed to assist the Church in her preparation for the forthcoming 50th anniversary of the historic 1963 encyclical Pacem in Terris. The Academy deemed it opportune to devote the first of these Plenaries to that encyclical’s much-noted engagement with the modern human rights project, and, in the light of current events, we decided to focus on religious freedom as emblematic both of the aspirations and the dilemmas of the universal human rights idea. When we informed Pope Benedict XVI of that decision last summer, we were delighted to receive his immediate encouragement, and we were further heartened when the Pope himself made religious freedom a central theme of his remarks on numerous occasions in the months leading up to our meeting. The Academicians were aided in their exploration of the problem of “Universal Rights in a World of Diversity” by an extraordinary group of distinguished experts from diverse disciplines and regions of the world. A highlight of the meeting was the Pope’s message in which he reminded us that religious freedom goes to the very heart of what it means to be human. “A yearning for truth and meaning and an openness to the transcendent”, he said, are “deeply inscribed in human nature”. We were also honored by the participation of Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State of the Holy See, who spoke on “Pontifical Diplomacy and Freedom of Religion”, and Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, who spoke on “Ecumenism and Religious Freedom”. It is impossible to summarize the rich harvest from the Plenary in the compass of this Report, but many of the highlights are covered in the attached Statement (pp. 651-64) that was issued to the press at the close of our meeting.

Mary Ann Glendon

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