Cardinal Ayuso Guixot in Abu Dhabi in February 2020 for the first anniversary of the Document on Human Fraternity Cardinal Ayuso Guixot in Abu Dhabi in February 2020 for the first anniversary of the Document on Human Fraternity 

Pope: Future rests on education toward mutual respect

Pope Francis sends a letter to Georgetown University and “La Civiltà Cattolica” to express his appreciation for an upcoming conference focused on the theme: “Culture of Encounter”.

By Devin Watkins

Two Jesuit institutions have teamed up to host an international conference about intercultural and interreligious dialogue, and have received Pope Francis’ appreciation for their efforts.

Georgetown University—a top-ranked Jesuit university in the US Capitol, Washington, D.C. founded in 1789—and La Civiltà Cattolica—an Italy-based Jesuit review founded in 1850—are holding the conference on 8-9 November under the theme: “Culture of Encounter”.

Pope Francis expressed his support for the initiative in a letter signed on 27 October and released on Thursday ahead of the event.

Future of humanity

The Pope praised the two institutions for coming together to “think about the future of our humanity” and for involving the Vatican’s Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue in preparing the conference.

He thanked them for promoting discussion on the “culture of encounter”, calling it a “crucial theme for our world.”

“With your lessons, articles, and joint initiatives you continue to help many people become teachers and artisans of a culture which favors mutual understanding,” said the Pope.

Dialogue turns competition into collaboration

He noted that our modern world is filled with “connections” but that we still struggle to listen to one another and understand.

“Dialogue is the authentic expression of humanity,” he said, calling it “a path that deserves to be undertaken with patience in order to transform competition into collaboration.”

The Church, said Pope Francis, must spare no effort to “educate toward respectful openness regarding others, recognizing their rights and fundamental freedoms.”

“This is the path toward building the future together,” he added.

Culture of encounter

In conclusion, the Pope urged Georgetown University and La Civiltà Cattolica to help promote a culture of fraternity and encounter.

“May this be your task: to make it so that differences coexist in mutual integration, enrichment, and illumination, even if this leads to discussions and diffidence.”

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04 November 2021, 16:31