“Freedom can exist in a country only if it is also a paradise for heretics.” With this remarkable sentence, the Protestant bishop Michael Bünker opened the European Tolerance Talks in 2017, which also included the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. However, liberty in Luther’s time had a completely different meaning and would probably not be understood today by him, said Bünker. The Catholic bishop, Alois Schwarz, stressed that today it is more urgent than ever to meet the constraints of unworthy conditions such as poverty, hunger, poverty or loneliness. But at the same time, we must also push back human egoism and the lust for power. This not only creates a space of thought for freedom but a living space of grace. While Schwarz stressed the importance of internal freedom, Christine Muttonen, chairman of the OSCE parliamentary assembly, urged not only governments and alliances to deal with freedom but also to involve parliaments and civil society more intensively. “After the fall of the Iron Curtain, we have adopted the principle of military deterrence in Europe, and have placed security on trust and cooperation, which is now at stake,” said Muttonen. The aspects of freedom are manifold and their future is not quite as certain as they were a few years ago, especially in times of growing authoritarian currents. That is why the Toleranc Talks are not only a forum for exchanges, but a valuable opportunity for mutual encouragement to bravely stand up and to work for freedom, said Manfred Sauer, Superintendent of the Evangelical Church in Carinthia and East Tyrol and chairman of the organizer Denk.Raum.Fresach. (Sk) Picture: Living Ecumenism with the Evangelical Pastor of Fresach, Ralf Isensee, and the Catholic Priest of Weißenstein, Stockenboi and Fresach, Monsignore Helmut Gfrerer. For more information, click pressetext. Photos on fotodienst.