01/19/2023, 14.44
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Pope tells Cambodian Buddhists: rebuilding with the poor respecting creation

A Cambodian delegation is received in audience at the Vatican together with the Apostolic Vicar of Phnom Penh and the president of the Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue. The pope calls for an "ecological conversion" that safeguards both the environment and our brothers and sisters. The pontiff praises “metta”, a Buddhist practice of respecting every living thing preached by the Buddha that is similar to the call in Genesis to till and keep the earth.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis met today in the Vatican with a delegation of Buddhist monks and representatives of Cambodian civil society, accompanied by the Apostolic Vicar of Phnom Penh, Bishop Olivier Schmitthaeusler, and Cardinal Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, president of the Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue.

In his address, the pontiff said that “interreligious cooperation [is] an important element of society which enables people to live peacefully as brothers and sisters, reconciled among themselves and to the environment in which they live.”

Currently, meetings are underway in Rome dedicated to the “ecological conversion”, which for Francis is a “positive sign of the growing sensitivity and concern for the wellbeing of the earth, our common home, and for the important contributions that, inspired by your religious beliefs and spiritual traditions, you can offer to your noble country on its path to social healing and economic reconstruction following the socio-political crises of recent decades.”

Citing his Encyclical Laudato Si’, Francis called for ‘integrated solutions” that show “respect for creation, respect for our neighbour, respect for ourselves and for the Creator”.

“Ecological conversion happens when the human roots of the present environmental crisis are named; when true repentance leads to the slowing or halting of trends, ideologies and practices that are hurtful and disrespectful to the earth, and when people commit to promoting models of developments that heal wounds inflicted by greed, excessive search for financial profits, lack of solidarity with neighbours and disrespect for the environment.

Drawing on their own religious traditions, Buddhists and Christians can offer their own contribution.

“In following the tenets that the Buddha left as a legacy to his disciples (Pratimoksa), including the practices of metta, which involves not harming living things, and living a simple lifestyle, Buddhists can achieve a compassionate protection for all beings, including the earth, their habitat.

“For their part, Christians [can] fulfil their ecological responsibility when, as trustworthy stewards, they protect Creation, the work God has entrusted to them ‘to till and to keep’.”

Finally, the pontiff concluded the meeting saying: “Upon you and upon all in your noble country I invoke an abundance of blessings from on high.”

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