04/04/2024, 15.11
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Pope tells Kazakhstan-based religious forum, no to 'bellicose rhetoric'

This morning Francis received in audience the participants in the first meeting between the Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue and the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions. In his address, he underlined three "aspects" to focus on, namely respect for diversity, environmental commitment to the common home, and the promotion of peace.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis this morning received in audience participants in the first colloquium between the Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue and the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions at the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican.

In his address, the pontiff said: “Nowadays, many, too many, speak of war: bellicose rhetoric has sadly come back into fashion. This is terrible. Yet, while words of hatred multiply, people are dying in brutal conflicts.”

“We need instead to speak of peace, to dream of peace, to give creativity and substance to hopes for peace, for these are the real hopes of individuals and of peoples.” And “this event [is] a first important fruit of the Memorandum of Understanding concluded between the Nazarbayev Centre and the Dicastery.”

Pope Francis stressed the importance of mutual support in nurturing harmony between faiths, ethnic groups, and cultures; in this sense, the Central Asian country “can be proud. In particular,” of “three aspects of your work: respect for diversity, commitment to our ‘common home’ and the promotion of peace.”

Concerning this last point, peace, “Every effort should be made” to promote it, “in dialogue with everyone. May your meeting, marked by respect for differences and with the aim of mutual enrichment, be an example of not seeing the other person as a threat, but as a gift and a valued partner for reciprocal growth.”

In one passage, Francis mentioned the Seventh Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions in Astana in 2022, which he attended, calling it a “unique and well-tested platform for dialogue not only among religious leaders, but also with the world of politics, culture and the media.”

The congress, which is an initiative of the Kazakh government, “is a praiseworthy initiative that fits well with Kazakhstan’s vocation to be a land of encounter.”

Such a vocation was clear last January at the meeting in the Vatican with the President of the Kazakh Republic Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.

“With regard to respect for diversity, which is an indispensable element in democracy and must constantly be promoted, the fact that your State is ‘secular’ contributes greatly to harmony,” said the pontiff.

“To be sure, we are speaking of a healthy secularity, which does not confuse religion and politics, but distinguishes them for the good of both and which recognizes at the same time the essential role of religions in society, in service to the common good.

From this perspective, it is essential to have "fair and equitable treatment of the different ethnic, religious and cultural components with regard to employment, access to public services and participation in the political and social life of the Nation, so that no one feels discriminated against or favoured because of his or her specific identity.”

Lastly, the pontiff touched a topic dear to his heart, namely the protection of creation, our common home, described in this first colloquium as a “Divine Gift to be Loved and Cared for.”

For the pope, respect for creation “is an indispensable consequence of love for the Creator, for our brothers and sisters with whom we share life on this planet, and in a particular way for future generations”.

For this reason, he expressed hope that the first colloquium between the Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue and the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions “will be an important contribution in this regard.”

(Photo: Vatican Media)

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