Pope Francis has spoken to the Italian president about religious freedom saying that it is often affirmed, but not always implemented, whilst also noting that in the current situation there is a weakening of family and social ties.
The pontiff met Italian President Giorgio Napolitano on Saturday and he discussed in his discussion he recalled how 2013 marks the 17th centenary of the Edict of Milan, Vatican Radio reported.
The edict is a document which many consider to be the first example of religious freedom being promoted.
"In today's world, religious freedom is more often affirmed than put into practice," Francis said.
He said that liberty is often threatened, and not infrequently violated and the serious outrages against this fundamental right are a source of serious concern, and need to be confronted at the global level.
The Argentine pontiff defended religious liberty and it should be available for everyone and that it is the responsibility of all people.
Defending, religious freedom "guarantees the growth and development of the entire community," said Pope Francis.
Turning to the current global crisis, the Pope said that the world is undergoing a "serious and persistent global economic crisis which accentuates economic and social problems, above all placing a burden on the weakest of society."
He noted among causes for serious concern are the weakening of family and social ties; decreasing populations; the prevalence of a way of thinking which values profit more than work and that insufficient attention given to younger generations and their formation.
This Francis said jeopardizes a peaceful and secure future for society.
"There is therefore an urgent need to foster, especially among young people, a new way of thinking with regard to the responsibility of politics," said the Pope.
This would foster a situation where "believers and non-believers can work together to promote a society where injustice can be overcome, and each person can contribute to the common good according to his or her dignity, and make the most of his or her abilities."