12/09/2008, 00.00
VATICAN

Pope: dignity of the person, peace, development topics for interfaith dialogue

Benedict XVI affirms that for the European Union, bearer of a common culture founded on Greek and Roman civilization, and especially on Christianity, dialogue must be "a priority."

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The dignity of the human person, the search for the common good, the construction of peace, development: these are topics that Benedict XVI is pointing out to "believers," in order to promote initiatives of intercultural and interfaith dialogue, for the purpose of stimulating reciprocal collaboration. In a message to the president of the pontifical council for interreligious dialogue, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, and to the president of the pontifical council for culture, Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, on the occasion of the day of study dedicated to "cultures and religions and dialogue," in the context of the year of intercultural dialogue promoted by the European Union, which took place on Thursday, December 4, the pope affirmed that this dialogue represents "a priority for the European Union."

Contemporary Europe, Benedict XVI writes, "is the result of two millennia of civilization. Its roots are planted in the extensive ancient heritage of Athens and Rome, and above all in the fertile soil of Christianity, which has shown itself capable of creating new cultural patrimonies while receiving the original contribution of every civilization." "In this way, Europe appears to us today as a precious tapestry, the fabric of which is woven together from the principles and values found in the Gospel, while the national cultures have been able to design an immense variety of perspectives that manifest the religious, intellectual, technological, scientific, and artistic capacities of Homo Europeus. In this sense, we can affirm that Europe had, and still has, a cultural influence on the entirety of the human race, and cannot help but feel particularly responsible not only for its own future, but for that of humanity as a whole."

"In the contemporary context, in which our contemporaries often raise essential questions about the meaning of life and its value, it seems more important than ever to reflect on the ancient roots from which abundant sap has flowed over the course of the centuries. The topic of intercultural and interreligious dialogue thus emerges as a priority for the European Union, and tangentially involves the areas of culture and communication, education and science, migration and the minorities, even reaching the sectors of youth and work. Once diversity has been accepted as a positive reality, persons must be encouraged not only to accept the existence and culture of the other, but also to desire to be enriched by him."

"We live in what is referred to as a 'pluralistic world', characterized by the rapidity of communication, the mobility of peoples and their economic, political, and cultural interdependence. Precisely at this time, which is sometimes dramatic, although unfortunately many Europeans seem to ignore the Christian roots of Europe, they are alive, and they should trace the path and foster the hopes of millions of citizens who share the same values. Believers, therefore, should be always ready to promote initiatives of intercultural and interreligious dialogue, for the purpose of stimulating collaboration in areas of mutual interest, like the dignity of the human person, the search for the common good, the construction of peace, development."

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