Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Call for Interreligious Dialogue

Pope Benedict XVI has issued a "Papal Message on Cultural and Religious Dialogue" that is posted in translation over at zenit. Although the message is directed to the particular participants of a study day on "Cultures and Religions in Dialogue," and is written to European Catholics, I find some of the message personally relevant, and am quoting that selection below:
Believers should always be willing to promote initiatives of intercultural and interreligious dialogue, to stimulate collaboration on topics of mutual interest, such as the dignity of the human person, the quest for the common good, the building of peace and development. With this intention, the Holy See wished to give particular relevance to its own participation in high-level dialogue on understanding between religions and cultures and on cooperation for peace, in the framework of the 62nd U.N. General Assembly (Oct. 4-5, 2007). To be authentic, dialogue must avoid yielding to relativism and syncretism and be animated by sincere respect for others and by a generous spirit of reconciliation and fraternity.
That sentence I bolded really hits me hard. With regard to the first half of the sentence, in person, I tend to seek middle ground, give way and not make clear distinctions. With regard to the second half of the sentence, on this blog I have been "finding my voice by posting items that do not portray Islam in a flattering light shine a bright light on the violence perpetrated in the name of Islam. I need to do some thinking about this, but let's go on:

I encourage all those dedicated to the building of a friendly and sympathetic Europe ever more faithful to its roots and, in particular, I exhort believers to contribute not only to zealously protecting the cultural and spiritual heritage that distinguishes them and forms an integral part of their history, but also to commit themselves increasingly to seek new ways to adequately address the great challenges that mark the post-modern age. Among these, I limit myself to mention the defense of man's life in all its phases, the safeguarding of all the rights of the person and the family, the construction of a just and sympathetic world, respect of creation, and intercultural and interreligious dialogue.

I'm really interested in that list so let's repeat that last sentence and number the items in the list.
Among these, I limit myself to mention:
1) the defense of man's life in all its phases,
2) the safeguarding of all the rights of the person and the family,
3) the construction of a just and sympathetic world,
4) respect of creation, and
5) intercultural and interreligious dialogue.

Of course this is written to people who are spending a study day on cultures and religions in dialogue. But still, I am very excited that he has included this work in a list with working for pro-life concerns and environmental concerns. Interreligious dialogue is valuable work.

Hat Tip to Titus One Nine

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