Card. Sako: from interreligious forums a new commitment 'to peace and fraternity'

From Bahrain to Abu Dhabi, two major events brought together personalities of all faiths. The world a 'great challenge' triggered by conflicts, climate change, desertification, sectarian violence. Rereading and adapting sacred texts to our times. Religion must be a "deterrent" and not a detonator of evil and injustice. 



Baghdad (AsiaNews) - Great "concern" for the general international situation and, in particular, for Iraq and the Middle East "cradle of civilisations and religions", combined with "hope" for a common commitment in the direction of peace, dialogue and brotherhood. These are the sentiments expressed by the Patriarch of Baghdad of the Chaldeans, Cardinal Louis Raphael Sako, in a message published on the Patriarchate's website and sent for information to AsiaNews at the end of two weeks that saw him present at two important events: the "Forum for Dialogue: East and West for Human Coexistence" held in Bahrain at the beginning of the month in the presence of Pope Francis, and the ninth Abu Dhabi Peace Forum, the "Globalization of War and the Globalization of Peace, Requirements and Partnership" held from 8 to 10 November. 

Addressing his fellow Christians, Muslims, Yazidis, and Sabeans "in the light" of the meetings at the two forums, the cardinal recalled how "Iraq is our common home" and therefore "we need strength and support for each other" because, otherwise, "we are all doomed". The world itself 'is facing a great challenge' made up of 'conflicts, sectarian and nationalist militancy, chaos and corruption' that affect people's 'economic, social and religious' lives and security. 

Added to this, he continues, are the very serious effects of the Russian-Ukrainian war, the damage caused by climate change, the food crisis that is becoming increasingly tragic, the water issue and the progressive desertification linked to it. "Small wars," he warns, "can turn into big conflicts", while the world needs "a mediating role" to avert escalation. 

"We are all responsible," warns the Chaldean primate, for what happens "on our planet and in our country". God, he warns, "will not ask" whether we are "Shia Muslim or Sunni, a Catholic Christian or an Orthodox", but will judge "on our concerns" and for what we have done "for our sister brothers". Only this morality, he warns, can truly guarantee "peace and security" that are the way and the light "for eternity". 

Card. Sako urges politicians and institutions above all to "take care" of this "unique home" and ensure "protection and services" for citizens. The goal is to be able to live 'in freedom and dignity' according to the principle of 'citizenship', cooperating 'through dialogue and diplomatic channels' and 'banning weapons'.

Religious leaders, on the other hand, are called to be witnesses of the divine message, while it is "unacceptable" to want to turn themselves "into parties, politicians or businessmen". They must "discover the profound meaning" of the sacred texts, adapting them to the times, because they are not "prisoners of the letter or of time". And they must teach people "morality, acceptance of difference, respect for diversity" as reiterated by the pope, contributing to a strengthening of internal dialogue within Islam "between Sunnis and Shiites" for the "reconciliation of their respective peoples". 

Recalling some passages from the Bible, the Gospel and the Koran in which the values of peace, morality and justice are extolled, the cardinal concludes by emphasising once again the "imperative task" entrusted to the clergy: "Fill the hearts of Christians, Muslims, Jews, etc." with the values of "brotherhood, love, mercy, forgiveness, mutual cooperation and joy. Moral and spiritual security,' he says, 'are a guarantee of peace and coexistence, religion must be a deterrent [and not a detonator] to evil and injustice'.