By Vatican News
Pope Francis received participants of a meeting promoted by the Instituto para el Dialogo Interreligioso (IDI) from Argentina. The topic of this meeting is the Human Fraternity Document which Pope Francis, together with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, signed during his visit to Abu Dhabi on 4 February 2019. The Document calls on all people to work towards inter-faith harmony and to advance a “culture of mutual respect” and peace.
There is no alternative
In his address to participants at the meeting, Pope Francis said he was pleased to note that this Document, which is of a universal nature, “is also spreading in the Americas.”
The Pope quoted from his speech at the Global Conference on Human Fraternity in February, saying: "There is no alternative: we will either build the future together or there will not be a future. Religions, in particular, cannot renounce the urgent task of building bridges between peoples and cultures.” Interreligious cooperation, “based on the promotion of sincere and respectful dialogue, is fundamental”, he added.
The role of believers
The world looks to believers, continued Pope Francis, to collaborate among ourselves and with men and women of good will, in order to provide effective responses to the problems of “war and hunger, poverty, the environmental crisis, violence, corruption and moral degradation, the crisis of the family, the economy and, above all, the lack of hope.”
The purpose of the Document
The purpose of the Document is to adopt the culture of dialogue and common collaboration as a way forward, said the Pope. He described fraternity as “a complex human reality, which must be treated delicately.” Pope Francis went on to pose various questions: How can we care for one another? How can we privilege inclusion over exclusion? How can we ensure religions are “channels of fraternity rather than barriers of division?”
The role of dialogue
The Pope stressed the importance of religions being “factors of peace for human societies”, as a response to those who unjustly accuse them of fomenting hatred and violence. “Dialogue between religions is not a sign of weakness”, said Pope Francis. Rather, “it finds its raison d'être in God's dialogue with humanity.”
Instituto para el Dialogo Interreligioso
IDI is a civil association which promotes understanding among adherents of various faiths, fosters dialogue and peaceful co-existence. The Institute is primarily constituted of members of the three monotheistic faiths, but it is open to all men and women of good will. Pope Francis' words and actions have been of inspiration to IDI.