Are Catholic Majorities More Hospitable to Religious Minorities Than Others? – Seminar

FBK Aula Piccola

Fondazione Bruno Kessler - Polo delle Scienze Umane e sociali
Aula Piccola

It is hard to believe it is a coincidence that when we look at the patterns of restriction of religious freedom that exist around the world, including legal restrictions and social hostilities, in places with high or very high restrictions, there is almost always a dominant religious group that is a majority or supermajority. But there are no countries with high or very high legal restrictions and very few countries with high social hostilities that have a Catholic majority or supermajority. This provides a powerful invitation for those of us who live in countries with high restrictions to reflect upon the role that the dominant religious groups may have in perpetuating those restrictions, and the potential role that those dominant religious group may have in overcoming those patterns of restriction and hostility. Among the most important resources for promoting religious freedom will be religious reasons and doctrines found within religious traditions. Freedom of thought, conscience, and belief is most likely to be promoted when dominant religious groups find within their own religious traditions the resources and arguments in defense of freedom, conscience, and human dignity. Many religious traditions, including Orthodox Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, and Hindu, can look to the experience of the Catholic Church for insight and inspiration.


Paolo Costa, FBK-ISR
Roberto Toniatti, Law School, University of Trento
Cinzia Piciocchi, Law School, University of Trento
Andrea Pin, Law School, University of Padova


  • Brigham Young University
    Brett G. Scharffs is the Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies and the Francis R. Kirkham Professor of Law at Brigham Young University Law School. Together with his colleagues at the Center, he pursues the Center’s mission of helping secure the blessing of freedom of religion and belief for all people.


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