Pope: Interreligious Dialogue is necessary in the fight for peace

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Pope: Interreligious Dialogue is necessary in the fight for peacePope Francis praises the Focolare Movement for fostering interreligious dialogue and for their efforts in unity, mutual respect, and peacebuilding.

Greeting members of the Focolare Movement, in Rome for an Interreligious Conference, Pope Francis opened with a moment of solidarity with the Movement's President, Margaret Karram, born in Israel to a Palestinian family. As he greeted her the Holy Father assured her of his prayers for her homeland, which he said is "suffering so much at this time".

In line with this, Pope Francis highlighted the Focolare Movement's perseverance in "fostering unity with people of non-Christian religions who share the spirituality of unity".

This, he said, is an experience which is "animated by the Holy Spirit, rooted, we can say, in the heart of Christ, in his thirst for love, communion and fraternity".

Opening the path of encounter

Pope Francis continued by emphasising that it is indeed the Spirit who "opens paths of dialogue and encounter", adding that at times they are "surprising ones". An example of this, said the Pope, took place more than fifty years ago in Algeria, "when an all-Muslim community adhering to the Movement was born". This interreligious dialogue has flourished over time, "as evidenced by your presence today", he added.

The Holy Father then went on to address the foundation of this experience, which he described as being "the love of God expressed through mutual love, listening, trust, hospitality and getting to know one another, all the while fully respecting each other’s identities". Over time, he continued, friendship and cooperation have grown in seeking to respond together to the cry of the poor, in caring for creation, and in working for peace.

The dream of unity

"Through this journey, some non-Christian brothers and sisters have shared in the spirituality of the Work of Mary, or in some of its characteristic traits, and live according to them amongst their own people" noted the Pope. He explained that we transcend dialogue with these men and women with whom we feel like brothers and sisters, sharing the dream of a more united world, in the harmony of diversity.

Bringing his address to a close, Pope Francis, reminded those present that their witness is "a source of joy and consolation, especially in this time of conflict, when religion is often misused in order to fuel division". For this reason, he concluded, “Interreligious Dialogue is a necessary condition for peace in the world".

Francesca Merlo
Source: vaticannews.va/en