WARSAW, Poland -- A commission representing the European Union's Catholic bishops welcomed an EU commitment to support religious freedom worldwide and predicted "concrete measures" will be taken to implement the pledge.
"It isn't up to churches to suggest practical action," said Johanna Touzel, spokeswoman for the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community. "What we're calling for is a clear warning about the consequences of continued persecution.
"The Western world should be offering a framework for respecting fundamental rights, which local communities can implement democratically. Now that revolutionary changes are occurring in the Arab world, the West has a responsibility to set the rules of the game," she said.
Touzel's response followed the release Feb. 21 of a statement by the EU foreign ministers that reaffirmed a "strong commitment" to promote religious freedom and condemn violence against Christians and Muslims.
In a Feb. 24 interview with Catholic News Service, Touzel said the voices of church leaders and Christian politicians helped "change the orientation" of the foreign ministers.