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Right to conscientious objection must be recognised pope says

VATICAN (CNS): Pope Francis told the French Catholic newspaper La Croix that national governments “must be secular. Confessional states end badly.” He added, however, that a truly secular democracy fully respects the religious freedom of its citizens, including their right to publicly express their faith. 

In an interview published on May 16, the pope said, “Everyone must have the freedom to externalise his or her own faith. If a Muslim woman wishes to wear a veil, she must be able to do so; similarly, if a Catholic wishes to wear a crucifix. People must be free to profess their faith at the heart of their own culture not merely at its margins.”

While legislatures must “discuss, argue, explain (and) reason” about legal solutions to complex issues, including euthanasia and same-sex marriage, “once a law has been adopted, the state must also respect consciences,” the pope said.

Pope Frances emphasised that, “The right to conscientious objection must be recognised within each legal structure because it is a human right—including for a government official, who is a human person.”

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