By Devin Watkins
Pope Francis on Saturday told a French interreligious association to encourage dialogue among people of different faiths and to promote peace and the sacredness of every human life.
He was speaking to a delegation of the “Emouna Fraternité Alumni” Association, which seeks to strengthen the bonds of solidarity among different religions.
Religious openness fosters peace
The Pope said the group proves it is possible “to live a healthy pluralism, respecting each person’s differences and values.”
“You also give witness, in a spirit of openness, to the capacity of religions to take part in public debate in a secularized society.”
Pope Francis said their “bonds of solidarity” show how “dialogue among members of different religions is a necessary condition for contributing to peace in the world.”
Three attitudes are required, he said, to encourage dialogue: “the duty to respect one’s own identity and that of others, the courage to accept differences, and sincerity of intentions.”
Differences nourish solidarity
Pope Francis said solidarity must be lived in an “attitude of openness towards others” and never in “a conciliatory syncretism.”
“On the contrary, [solidarity] seeks always and sincerely to be enriched by differences, with the desire to better understand and respect them, because each person’s good resides in the good of all.”
He said the work of the Emouna Association shows that “religions are not part of the problem but are part of the solution.”
Finally, Pope Francis invited those who promote interreligious dialogue “to be well-rooted trees, grounded in the soil of history and your respective traditions.”
“I encourage you to build a culture of encounter and dialogue, to promote peace, and to defend – with sweetness and respect – the sacredness of every human life against all forms of physical, social, educative, or psychological violence.”
Pray for one another, Pope Francis said, and may God “help you walk as brothers and sisters along the path of encounter, dialogue, and harmony in a spirit of collaboration and friendship.”