Says Dialogue Is Key to Peace

Dialogue based on love and truth is the best recipe for achieving peace, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope affirmed this in a message to the World Conference on Dialogue, held in Madrid, Spain, and sponsored by the Mecca-based Muslim World League.

Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, who delivered the meeting’s closing address, transmitted the papal message to participants.

King Juan Carlos of Spain and spiritual representatives of virtually all religions attended the conference, held from July 16-18 and convoked by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.

In his address, the French cardinal expressed the Pope’s greeting to participants and said that the Holy Father believes "that dialogue between believers, based on love and truth, is the best way to contribute to the harmony, happiness and peace of the peoples of the earth."

Common Denominator

Cardinal Tauran added that King Abdullah was "courageous" in proposing that the conference focus on "our common denominators, namely, in profound faith in God and in the noble principles and lofty moral values that constitute the essence of religion."

"Over these days, it has been made clear that it is possible to meet, to look at one another face to face, to respect our respective creeds, and to learn a new way of engaging in dialogue," said the cardinal, as reported by L’Osservatore Romano. "We have stressed the numerous convictions we share: faith in the oneness of God author of life; responsibility to protect creation and the earth’s resources; the sacred character of the human person and his or her dignity, as well as the fundamental rights derived from it; the common concern to offer young people ethical and religious principles; the strength of love that all believers possess; and the centrality of natural law."

The cardinal shared two "personal considerations," inspired by this historic meeting.

"The first is that we have made available to all members of the societies to which we belong the wealth of our convictions and our thoughts," he said. "My second conviction is that, insofar as believers, we are a gift for society. […] This reality makes it imperative that religious liberty be regarded as something more than the need to have places of worship, which is the least one can hope for."

"Religious liberty must also include the possibility that believers may participate actively in public dialogue through social, political and cultural responsibilities in which they must be a model," exhorted the papal representative.

3 Objectives

Cardinal Tauran highlighted three objectives: "to promote mutual knowledge; to encourage the objective study of religions; and to form people in interreligious dialogue."

"I do not wish to say that all religions are more or less the same," he affirmed. "I wish to say that all who seek God have the same dignity.

"Benedict XVI has always warned against interreligious dialogue ending up in syncretism. We all know that interreligious dialogue cannot be based on ambiguity.

"As believers, Jews, Christians and Muslims, we do not believe in fate. We know that, having received a heart and intelligence from God, we can change, with his help, the course of history."