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Pope: ‘We must be forthright in interfaith dialogue’

Pope: ‘We must be forthright in interfaith dialogue’

Inter-religious dialogue must be grounded in a “full and forthright presentation” of different faiths’ respective convictions, Pope Francis has said.


The Pope made the comments during a meeting at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall during the first day of his papal visit to South Asia. Francis was greeted at the hall by members of Sri Lanka’s Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and and Christian communities.

Pope Francis said: “As experience has shown for (inter-religious) dialogue and encounter to be effective, it must be grounded in a full and forthright presentation of our respective convictions. Certainly, such dialogue will accentuate how varied our beliefs, traditions and practices are. But if we are honest in presenting our convictions, we will be able to see more clearly what we hold in common. New avenues will be opened for mutual esteem, cooperation and indeed friendship.

“For too many years the men and women of this country have been victims of civil strife and violence. What is needed now is healing and unity, not further conflict and division. Surely the fostering of healing and unity is a noble task which is incumbent upon all who have at heart the good of the nation, and indeed the whole human family.”

He added: “For the sake of peace, religious beliefs must never be allowed to be abused in the cause of violence and war. We must be clear and unequivocal in challenging our communities to live fully the tenets of peace and coexistence found in each religion, and to denounce acts of violence when they are committed.”

As he did earlier in the day when making a speech upon his arrival at Colombo airport, Pope Francis spoke in English.

At this afternoon’s meeting, he was welcomed by the Buddhists in attendance with a ritual chant and, following his speech, a Hindu religious leader placed an orange cape on Francis’s shoulders.

Meanwhile, a Vatican spokesman has said the Pope is fit and well despite cancelling a lunchtime meeting with Sri Lankan bishops. “The health of the Pope is good. He was a little tired but now has his strength again,” he said.

Source - news.lk

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