05/28/2022, 15.16
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Pope: Catholics and Buddhists to be builders of 'a culture of peace'

Francis welcomes a delegation of Buddhist leaders from Mongolia on their first official visit to the Vatican. Accompanying them was the apostolic prefect of Ulaanbaatar, Monsignor Giorgio Marengo. At a time of conflict, they look to the example of Jesus and Buddha "the first builders of peace and promoters of non-violence". 


Vatican City (AsiaNews) - In a world "devastated by conflicts and wars", as religious leaders rooted in our "doctrines" we have a duty to "arouse in humanity the will to renounce violence and to build a culture of peace," said Pope Francis this morning as he welcomed a delegation of Buddhist leaders from Mongolia to the Vatican on their first official visit. They were accompanied by the Apostolic Prefect of Ulaanbaatar Msgr Giorgio Marengo. 

The Pope recalled how Jesus and Buddha were first "builders of peace and promoters of non-violence". At a time in history when religions are abused and exploited as a pretext to justify, if not perpetrate acts of violence, for the pope, religious leaders have a "duty" to promote a different culture. One that is based on forgiveness, on the repulsion of violence, because peace is the true 'yearning' of humanity. This is why all of us, today, are called to be 'disciples' of the 'Masters' of non-violence. 

The first visit of a high delegation of Mongolian Buddhism to the Vatican is a sign of "hope", because it is the testimony of a land with a remarkable history of co-existence and inter-religious dialogue.

"Peace," the Pontiff observed, "is today the ardent yearning of humanity. Therefore, through dialogue at all levels, it is urgent to promote a culture of peace and non-violence and to work for it. This dialogue must invite everyone to reject violence in all its forms, including violence against the environment'.

From the pope comes gratitude and encouragement to "explore new ways" to foster dialogue between Buddhism and Christianity, where "the conquest of self is greater than the conquest of others". The visit is also an opportunity to celebrate a double anniversary: the 30th anniversary of the Apostolic Prefecture in the country and the establishment of diplomatic relations with the Holy See with a view to increasing cooperation for a "peaceful society". 

At the end of his speech, the Pope recalled the Catholic community in Mongolia of "recent" formation and "small in number, but significant" for a Church committed to "promoting the culture of encounter". In a nation with a "long tradition" of peaceful coexistence between faiths, the pontiff called for strengthening "our friendship for the good of all". "My hope," Francis concluded, "is that this ancient history of harmony in diversity may continue today, through the effective implementation of religious freedom and the promotion of joint initiatives for the common good. Your presence here today is in itself a sign of hope. With these sentiments, I invite you to continue your fraternal dialogue and good relations with the Catholic Church in your country, for the cause of peace and harmony'. 

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