By Lydia O'Kane
“Serving a Wounded Humanity: Towards Interreligious Solidarity”. That was that title of a one day meeting which took place on Tuesday aimed at strengthening the longstanding friendship and collaboration between the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID) and the World Council of Churches (WCC).
Tuesday’s “brainstorming meeting”, which took place at the Council’s offices, also heard a number of reflections from theologians, members of the diplomatic corps and Christian charities based on their experiences of living and working for the poor, the needy and the suffering.
In his opening address, the President of the Pontifical Council, Cardinal Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot told the delegates present that this session gave experts from the different Christian Churches the “opportunity to enhance the ecumenical dimension of our common service in the realm of interreligious dialogue”.
The theme of this meeting was selected in January as a joint project by both the PCID and WCC and on Tuesday the Cardinal expressed the hope that this brainstorming meeting would “inspire and enrich us to move together on this joint project”.
A collaborative dialogue
Taking time out from the discussions to talk with Vatican News, the Cardinal said that “dialogue demands, first of all, to be fully identified with one’s own identity and then opening oneself to the other through listening, and in this way there is the possibility of rediscovering oneself and here you may find this common platform that is built up of difference to also of commonalities and it is through these commonalities that we try to work together in this common adventure that we may call it dialogue.”
Speaking about the theme of this meeting, “serving a wounded humanity”, the Cardinal took his cue from Pope Francis, referring to his words at the beginning of his Pontificate. “The Pope clearly said that what the Church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful.”
The Cardinal went to say that the Church needs to be near to the people; it needs to be a Church that is outward looking, that meets the needs of its flock.
Cardinal Ayuso pointed out, that through ecumenical and interreligious dialogue, “we are called to heal and to collaborate in healing the wounds of our humanity.”
The collaboration between the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID) and the World Council of Churches (WCC) goes back over 40 years. Both have worked jointly on projects such as Interreligous Marriage (1994-1997) Interreligious Prayer (1997-1998) and most recently a project on “Education for Peace” which was officially released in May of this year.