The former Communist country, which was once declared the world's first "atheist state", was an example to the the world, said the pontiff. Follow a part of the pope's speech: pills to build fraternity.

Pope jpgIn his first trip to a Muslim-majority country, Pope Francis held up Albania as a model of religious harmony compared to the sectarian savagery sweeping across the Middle East.

Large crowds lined the broad avenues of Tirana, the capital, on Sunday as the Pope was driven into the centre of the city after a short flight from Rome.

The Pope said that "religious differences are being distorted and manipulated."

He contrasted religious intolerance with the example of Albania, a country of three million people where around 60 per cent are Muslim, 10 per cent are Catholic and the rest are Christian Orthodox. (...)


Follow a part of the pope's speech during the visit in Albania

"Authentic religion is a source of peace and not of violence!...Seen in this light, religious freedom is not a right which can be guaranteed solely by existing legislation, although laws are necessary. Rather religious freedom is a shared space, an atmosphere of respect and cooperation that must be built with everyone’s participation, even those who have no religious convictions. Allow me to outline two attitudes which can be especially helpful in the advancement of this fundamental freedom.

"The first attitude is that of regarding every man and woman, even those of different religious traditions, not as rivals, less still enemies, but rather as brothers and sisters. When a person is secure of his or her own beliefs, there is no need to impose or put pressure on others: there is a conviction that truth has its own power of attraction. Deep down, we are all pilgrims on this earth, and on this pilgrim journey, as we yearn for truth and eternity, we do not live autonomous and self-sufficient individual lives; the same applies to religious, cultural and national communities. We need each other, and are entrusted to each other’s care. Each religious tradition, from within, must be able to take account of others.

"The second attitude which fosters the promotion of religious freedom is the work done in service of the common good. Whenever adherence to a specific religious tradition gives birth to service that shows conviction, generosity and concern for the whole of society without making distinctions, then there too exists an authentic and mature living out of religious freedom. This presents itself not only as a space in which to legitimately defend one’s autonomy, but also as a potential that enriches the human family as it advances. The more men and women are at the service of others, the greater their freedom!"

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