over many centuries, which can help us better to
live our own beliefs.
Social dialogue in a context of religious freedom
255.âThe Synod Fathers spoke of the impor-
tance of respect for religious freedom, viewed as
a fundamental human right.
This includes âthe
freedom to choose the religion which one judges
to be true and to manifest oneâs beliefs in pub-
A healthy pluralism, one which genuine-
ly respects differences and values them as such,
does not entail privatizing religions in an attempt
to reduce them to the quiet obscurity of the in-
dividualâs conscience or to relegate them to the
enclosed precincts of churches, synagogues or
mosques. This would represent, in effect, a new
form of discrimination and authoritarianism.
The respect due to the agnostic or non-believing
minority should not be arbitrarily imposed in a
way that silences the convictions of the believing
majority or ignores the wealth of religious tra-
ditions. In the long run, this would feed resent-
ment rather than tolerance and peace.
256.âWhen considering the effect of religion
on public life, one must distinguish the different
ways in which it is practiced. Intellectuals and
XVI, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation
Ecclesia in Medio Oriente
(14 September 2012), 26: AAS 104