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Dialogue, the only way to overcome suspicion and fear: Pope Francis



Vatican City, 28 Nov 2013: Citing his recently released Apostolic exhortation ‘Evangelii gaudium’, Pope Francis said ‘an attitude of openness in truth and love must prevail in dialogue with believers of non-Christian religions, despite the various obstacles and difficulties… Often political or economic reasons overlap with cultural and religious differences, and misunderstandings and mistakes of the past generate suspicion and fear, making difficult for people to coexist. There is only one way to overcome this fear, and that is dialogue. The Pontiff made these comments while addressing the participants of the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, on Thursday in the Vatican. The Plenary Assembly was opened on November 25 and concluded on Thursday had the theme "Members of different religious traditions in civil society."

Dialogue does not mean giving up your identity or compromising on faith and Christian morality, said Pope Francis adding, ‘the true openness implies remain firm in their deepest convictions and to open to understand others, convinced that the meeting with those who are different from us can be an opportunity for growth in brotherhood, enrichment and witness. It is for this reason that interreligious dialogue and evangelization are not mutually exclusive, but they help each other.
We do not impose anything, we do not use any underhand strategy to attract the faithful, but we witness with joy and simplicity of what we believe and what we are. In fact, each put aside what he believes in, pretending to give up what is most precious, would not be an authentic relationship.

The Catholic Church is aware of the value which the promotion of friendship and respect between men and women of different religious traditions, said Pope Francis adding, I understand more and more the importance, both because the world has become ‘smaller’, and because the phenomenon of migration, the contact increases between individuals and communities of different tradition, culture, and religion. This reality challenges our Christian conscience. It is a challenge for the understanding of the faith and the concrete life of the local Churches.

The constructive dialogue between people of different religious traditions also serves to overcome another fear - the fear of the different religious traditions and to the religious dimension as such. Religion is seen as something useless or even dangerous. It is widely thought that coexistence is possible only hiding their religious affiliation. But we must have the courage and the patience to accommodate each other. The future lies in the coexistence respectful of diversity, not in the approval of a single theoretically neutral thought. It therefore becomes essential to the recognition of the fundamental right to religious freedom, in all its dimensions. We are convinced that in this way passes the building of peace in the world, concluded Pope Francis.Source: VR Sedoc




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