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April 4, 2016
CANADIAN CATHOLIC NEWS

OTTAWA - The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has asked the federal government to reconsider its decision to close the Office of Religious Freedom.

"Religious freedom and freedom of conscience have a pivotal status among human rights," said a statement from the bishops' conference.

"Religious freedom is more than the right of an individual to believe and pray. It equally involves a faith community's identity as well as its interactions with society."

The CCCB said the Canadian Ambassador for Religious Freedom and the Office of Religious Freedom were "an important signal" to the international community and to Canadians.

They also reminded our civil servants and diplomats of "the singular importance of religious freedom, and of the unfortunate lack of voices in society prepared to come to its defence," said the March 24 statement.

"The Canadian Ambassador for Religious Freedom and the Office of Religious Freedom supported those voices within the world's religions which call for dialogue and for measures leading to peace, justice and true security," the CCCB said.

"The ambassador and the office moreover recognized the perilous situation of the Christian minority in the Middle East which has been present in the region for two millennia."

The bishops also asked the government for a plan "on how it will carry out its commitment to defend and promote religious freedom as part of its human rights agenda."