Vatican: Reject ‘Use of the Term Minority,’ Develop ‘Concept of Citizenship’

The Vatican's Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher addresses the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters on Friday, Oct. 2, 2015. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
Craig Ruttle/AP Photo

WASHINGTON, DC — Societies must end the use of the word “minority” and redefine the “concept of citizenship,” a top Vatican official argued Thursday at a religious freedom event hosted by the U.S. Department of State.

The comments from Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, the Holy See’s secretary for relations with states, came during a three-day summit, July 16 through 18, at the State Department — the second annual Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom.

Gallagher said there is a “need to develop and respect the concept of citizenship,” adding:

The concept of citizenship is based on the equality of rights and duties under which all enjoy justice. It is, therefore, crucial to establish in our societies the concept of full citizenship and reject the discriminatory use of the term ‘minority,’ which engenders feelings of isolation and inferiority. Indeed the equal protection and rights under the law remain an essential ingredient of the fair application of justice for all, underscoring the equal dignity of every person.

Pope Francis has advocated globalization and warned against “nationalism that raises walls” as well as unfettered capitalism.

The pope appears to favor a blurring of international boundaries, urging wealthy countries to open their borders to everyone in need.

The pope has railed against rising populism and increasing hostility towards illegal immigration, suggesting Christians should reject sovereignty and embrace globalism to make the globe a better place.

During his traditional Christmas speech at the Vatican last year, the pope declared:

Our differences, then, are not a detriment or a danger; they are a source of richness. As when an artist is about to make a mosaic, it is better to have tiles of many colors available, rather than just a few! The experience of families teaches us this: As brothers and sisters, we are all different from each other. We do not always agree, but there is an unbreakable bond uniting us, and the love of our parents helps us to love one another.

The ministerial event, dubbed the “largest religious freedom event ever,” featured over 100 foreign delegations and more than 1,000 civil society and religious leaders from all faiths.

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