Pope Francis on Interreligious Dialogue
Comments by and about Pope Francis on interreligious dialogue are added as they are made available. The most recent is on top.
November 3, 2016
To Representatives of Different Religions
. . . May it never happen again that the religions, because of the conduct of some of their followers, convey a distorted message, out of tune with that of mercy. Sadly, not a day passes that we do not hear of acts of violence, conflict, kidnapping, terrorist attacks, killings and destruction. It is horrible that at times, to justify such barbarism, the name of a religion or the name of God himself is invoked. May there be clear condemnation of these iniquitous attitudes that profane the name of God and sully the religious quest of mankind. May there instead be fostered everywhere the peaceful encounter of believers and genuine religious freedom. Here, our responsibility before God, humanity and the future is great; it calls for unremitting effort, without dissimulation. It is a call that challenges us, a path to be taken together, for the good of all, and with hope. May the religions be wombs of life, bearing the merciful love of God to a wounded and needy humanity; may they be doors of hope helping to penetrate the walls erected by pride and fear. Read entire address in English; in Italian

September 20, 2016
Assisi, World Day of Prayer for Peace
Our religious traditions are diverse. But our differences are not the cause of conflict and dispute, or a cold distance between us. We have not prayed against one another today, as has unfortunately sometimes occurred in history. Without syncretism or relativism, we have rather prayed side by side and for each other. In this very place Saint John Paul II said: “More perhaps than ever before in history, the intrinsic link between an authentic religious attitude and the great good of peace has become evident to all” (Address, Basilica of Saint Mary of the Angels, 27 October 1986: Insegnamenti IX,2, 1268). . . .
We who are here together and in peace believe and hope in a fraternal world. We desire that men and women of different religions may everywhere gather and promote harmony, especially where there is conflict. Our future consists in living together. For this reason we are called to free ourselves from the heavy burdens of distrust, fundamentalism and hate. Believers should be artisans of peace in their prayers to God and in their actions for humanity! As religious leaders, we are duty bound to be strong bridges of dialogue, creative mediators of peace. . . .
Men and women of various religions, we gather as pilgrims in the city of Saint Francis. Thirty years ago in 1986, religious representatives from all over the world met here at the invitation of Pope John Paul II. It was the first such solemn gathering that brought so many together, in order to affirm the indissoluble bond between the great good of peace and an authentic religious attitude. From that historic event, a long pilgrimage was begun which has touched many cities of the world, involving many believers in dialogue and in praying for peace. It has brought people together without denying their differences, giving life to real interreligious friendships and contributing to the resolution of more than a few conflicts. This is the spirit that animates us: to bring about encounters through dialogue, and to oppose every form of violence and abuse of religion which seeks to justify war and terrorism.
Read the complete address
April 8, 2016
Amoris laetitia
In his post-synodal exhortation Amoris laetitia,  on “Love in the Family, issued on April 8, 2016, Pope Francis includes a section on dialogue. Mutatis mutandis, many of the points he makes can well be applied to interreligious dialogue. For instance, he writes, “Keep an open mind. Don’t get bogged down in your own limited ideas and opinions, but be prepared to change or expand them. The combination of two different ways of thinking can lead to a synthesis that enriches both.” Or, “Fearing the other person as a kind of ‘rival’ is a sign of weakness and needs to be overcome.” For the complete section devoted to “dialogue,” click here.
November 30, 2015
Koudoukou, Bangui, Central African Republic
“Christians and Muslims are brothers and sisters. We must therefore consider ourselves and conduct ourselves as such. We are well aware that the recent events and acts of violence which have shaken your country were not grounded in properly religious motives. Those who claim to believe in God must also be men and women of peace. Christians, Muslims and members of the traditional religions have lived together in peace for many years. They ought, therefore, to remain united in working for an end to every act which, from whatever side, disfigures the Face of God and whose ultimate aim is to defend particular interests by any and all means, to the detriment of the common good. Together, we must say no to hatred, no to revenge and no to violence, particularly that violence which is perpetrated in the name of a religion or of God himself. God is peace, God salam.”

The complete text of Pope Francis’ address is given in English, Spanish, Italian, French and Portuguese on the website of the Holy See.

September 25, 2015
Ground Zero Memorial New York

In this place of sorrow and remembrance I am filled with hope, as I have the opportunity to join with leaders representing the many religious traditions which enrich the life of this great city. I trust that our presence together will be a powerful sign of our shared desire to be a force for reconciliation, peace and justice in this community and throughout the world. For all our differences and disagreements, we can experience a world of peace. In opposing every attempt to create a rigid uniformity, we can and must build unity on the basis of our diversity of languages, cultures and religions, and lift our voices against everything which would stand in the way of such unity. Together we are called to say “no” to every attempt to impose uniformity and “yes” to a diversity accepted and reconciled.

This can only happen if we uproot from our hearts all feelings of hatred, vengeance and resentment. We know that that is only possible as a gift from heaven. Here, in this place of remembrance, I would ask everyone together, each in his or her own way, to spend a moment in silence and prayer. Let us implore from on high the gift of commitment to the cause of peace. Peace in our homes, our families, our schools and our communities. Peace in all those places where war never seems to end. Peace for those faces which have known nothing but pain. Peace throughout this world which God has given us as the home of all and a home for all. Simply PEACE. Let us pray in silence. (a moment of silence) In this way, the lives of our dear ones will not be lives which will one day be forgotten. Instead, they will be present whenever we strive to be prophets not of tearing down but of building up, prophets of reconciliation, prophets of peace. Read complete address

June 6, 2015
Speech in Sarajevo

Speaking at an ecumenical and interreligious meeting at the Franciscan international study center of Sarajevo on June 6, 2015, Pope Francis said,

"interreligious dialogue cannot be limited merely to the few, to leaders of religious communities, but must also extend as far as possible to all believers, engaging the different sectors of civil society. Particular attention must be paid to young men and women who are called to build the future of this country. It is always worth remembering, however, that for dialogue to be authentic and effective, it presupposes a solid identity: without an established identity, dialogue is of no use or even harmful. I say this with the young in mind, but it applies to everyone."

Read the whole speech, in various languages, on the Vatican website.

April 11, 2015

23. There is an aspect of mercy that goes beyond the confines of the Church. It relates us to Judaism and Islam, both of which consider mercy to be one of God’s most important attributes. Israel was the first to receive this revelation which continues in history as the source of an inexhaustible richness meant to be shared with all mankind. As we have seen, the pages of the Old Testament are steeped in mercy, because they narrate the works that the Lord performed in favour of his people at the most trying moments of their history. Among the privileged names that Islam attributes to the Creator are “Merciful and Kind.” This invocation is often on the lips of faithful Muslims who feel themselves accompanied and sustained by mercy in their daily weakness. They too believe that no one can place a limit on divine mercy because its doors are always open.

I trust that this Jubilee year celebrating the mercy of God will foster an encounter with these religions and with other noble religious traditions; may it open us to even more fervent dialogue so that we might know and understand one another better; may it eliminate every form of closed-mindedness and disrespect, and drive out every form of violence and discrimination. Complete document

January 24, 2015
To Participants in the Meeting Sponsored bye the Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies

Vatican City, 24 January 2015 (VIS) – “In recent years, despite various misunderstandings and difficulties, strides ahead have been made in interreligious dialogue, even with followers of Islam. Listening is essential for this. It is not only a necessary condition in a process of mutual comprehension and peaceful co-existence, but it is also a pedagogic duty in order to 'acknowledge the values of others, appreciate the concerns underlying their demands and shed light on shared beliefs'”, said Pope Francis this morning, as he received in audience the participants in a meeting organised by the Pontifical Institute for Arabic and lslamic Studies (PISAI), commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of its foundation. The meeting was held at the Pontifical Urbanian University from 22 to 24 January on the theme: “Studying and Understanding the Religion of the Other. Towards Mutual Recognition between Religions and Cultures in Today’s World”.

Francis emphasised the need for adequate education, “so that, secure in our own identity, we can grow in mutual knowledge. We must take care not to fall prey to a syncretism that is conciliatory but ultimately empty and a harbinger of a totalitarianism without values. A comfortable and accommodating approach, 'which says “yes” to everything in order to avoid problems', ends up being 'a way of deceiving others and denying them the good which we have been given to share generously with others'. This invites us, first of all, to return to the basics”.

“At the beginning of dialogue there is encounter”, he continued. “This generates the first knowledge of the other. If, indeed, we start from the presumption of our common human nature, it is possible to overcome prejudice and falsehood, and to begin to understand the other from a new perspective”. Francis remarked that now there is a need, like never before, for an institution dedicated expressly to research and the formation of dialogue with Muslims, since “the most effective antidote to any form of violence is education in the discovery and acceptance of difference as richness and fruitfulness”. This task, affirmed the Pope, is not easy, but “is born of and matures from a strong sense of responsibility”.

He continued, “Islamic-Christian dialogue, in a special way, requires patience and humility accompanied by detailed study, as approximation and improvisation can be counterproductive and or even the cause of unease and embarrassment. There is a need for lasting and continuous commitment in order to ensure we do not find ourselves unprepared in various situations and in different contexts. For this reason it demands a specific preparation, that is not limited to sociological analysis but rather has the characteristics of a journey shared by people belonging to religions that, although in different ways, refer to the spiritual fatherhood of Abraham. Culture and education are not secondary to a true process of moving towards each other that respects in every person “his life, his physical integrity, his dignity and the rights deriving from that dignity, his reputation, his property, his ethnic and cultural identity, his ideas and his political choices”.

The Pope expressed his wish that this “valuable” Institute, may increasingly become “a point of reference for the formation of Christians who work in the field of interreligious dialogue” and that it may establish a fruitful collaboration with other Pontifical universities and research centres, both Christian and Muslim, throughout the world. He concluded by encouraging the community of the PISAI “never to betray the primary task of listening and dialogue, based on clear identities and the keen, patient and rigorous search for truth and beauty, which are placed in the hearts of every man and woman and truly visible in every authentic religious expression”.


January 13, 2015
Address at the Interreligious and Ecumenical Gathering
Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall, Colombo

“ . . . dialogue is essential if we are to know, understand and respect one another. But, as experience has shown, for such 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.” Read the entire address

January 14, 2014
Press conference on the flight from Sri Lanka to the Philippines

(Christoph Schmidt)
Holy Father, good morning. Would you be so kind as to tell us something about your visit to the Buddhist temple yesterday, which was a big surprise. What was the reason for such an apparently spontaneous visit? Are you impressed by that religion? We know that Christian missionaries believed right up to the Twentieth Century that Buddhism was a fraud, a diabolical religion. Third, what relevance does Buddhism have for the future of Asia?

(Pope Francis)
How was the visit, and why did I go? The head of that temple was invited by the government to the airport for my arrival and there – he is a great friend of Cardinal Ranjith – when he greeted me he invited me to the temple – and he asked Cardinal Ranjith to bring me there. So I spoke with the Cardinal, but there wasn’t time, since once I arrived I had to cancel the meeting with the Bishops because I wasn’t feeling well. I was tired – that twenty-nine kilometer ride from the airport and greeting all the people had worn me out completely – and so there was no time. But yesterday, returning from Madhu, there was a chance to do it; he called and so we went. In that temple are relics of two of the Buddha’s disciples. For them these are very important. These relics were in England and the temple authorities managed to get them back: good. So he came to greet me at the airport and I went to visit him. That first.

Secondly, yesterday at Madhu I saw something which I would never have expected: not everyone there was Catholic, not even the majority! There were Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, and each one came to pray; they go and they say they receive graces there. There is in the people – and the people are never wrong – they sense that there is something there that unites them. And if they are so naturally united in going together to pray at that shrine – which is Christian but not only Christian, because all want [to go there], then why shouldn’t I go to a Buddhist temple to greet them? What happened yesterday at Madhu is very important. It helps us to understand the meaning of the interreligious experience in Sri Lanka: there is respect for one another. There are small fundamentalist groups, but these are not with the people: they are ideological elites, but they are not with the people.

Now, as for their going to hell! Even the Protestants… when I was a child, some seventy years ago, all Protestants were going to hell, all of them. That’s what we were told. And I remember my first experience of ecumenism. I told it a little while ago to the leaders of the Salvation Army. I was four or five years old, but I can still remember it clearly. I was walking down the street with my grandmother, she was holding my hand. On the other sidewalk there were two ladies from the Salvation Army, with those hats with the bow they used to wear. And I asked my grandmother: “Grandma, are they nuns?” And she said to me: “No, they are Protestants, but they are good people”. This was the first time that I had ever heard someone say something good about a person of another religion, about a Protestant. At that time, in catechesis, they told us that everyone was going to hell! But I believe that the Church has become much more respectful – as I said during the interreligious meeting in Colombo – and appreciative. When we read what the Second Vatican Council said about the values to be found in other religions, the Church has grown greatly in this regard. And yes, there are dark periods in the history of the Church, we must admit, without being ashamed, because we too are on a path of constant conversion: always moving from sin to grace. And this interreligious experience of fraternity, each always respecting the other, is a grace. I do not know if there is something I have forgotten. Is that all? Vielen Danke.

November 28, 2014
Pope Francis in Turkey:
Pursuing a dialogue of friendship, esteem and respect

In his meeting with the President, Prime Minister and civil authorities of Turkey on November 28, 2014, the first day of his apostolic journey to Turkey, Pope Francis spoke of the need for dialogue that “can deepen the understanding and appreciation of the many things which we hold in common . . . [and] allow us to reflect sensibly and serenely on our differences, and to learn from them, . . . [overcoming] prejudices and unwarranted fears, leaving room for respect, encounter, and the release of more positive energies for the good of all.
“To this end, it is essential that all citizens – Muslim, Jewish and Christian – both in the provision and practice of the law, enjoy the same rights and respect the same duties. They will then find it easier to see each other as brothers and sisters who are travelling the same path, seeking always to reject misunderstandings while promoting cooperation and concord. . . .”
Read the entire speech on the Vatican website.

During his return trip to Rome, Pope Francis held a press conference in which he spoke on the important of the dialogue of spiritual experience: " . . . on interreligious dialogue: I had what was probably the most wonderful conversation about this with the President for Religious Affairs and his team. When the new Turkish Ambassador to the Holy See came to deliver his Letters of Credence, over a month and a half ago, I saw an exceptional man before me, a man of profound piety. The President of that office was of the same school. They said something beautiful: They said: “Right now it seems like interreligious dialogue has come to an end. We need to take a qualitative leap, so that interreligious dialogue is not merely: 'What do you think about this?' 'We....' We need to take this qualitative leap, we need to bring about a dialogue between religious figures of different faiths”.  This is a beautiful thing: men and women who meet other men and women and share experiences.  We are not just talking about theology but religious experience. And this would be a beautiful step forward, beautiful. I really enjoyed that meeting. It was excellent.”

Read the entire interview.

 November 21, 2014
Special Mention of Inter-Monastic Dialogue

In his “Letter to All Consecrated People,” issued on November 21, 2014, Pope Francis makes special mention of “inter-monastic dialogue” and encourages its development:

“4. Nor can we forget that the phenomenon of monasticism and of other expressions of religious fraternity is present in all the great religions.  There are instances, some long-standing, of inter-monastic dialogue involving the Catholic Church and certain of the great religious traditions.  I trust that the Year of Consecrated Life will be an opportunity to review the progress made, to make consecrated persons aware of this dialogue, and to consider what further steps can be taken towards greater mutual understanding and greater cooperation in the many common areas of service to human life.”

Read the entire letter.

AUGUST 18, 2014

During the press conference Pope Francis gave on his return to Rome from Korea (August 18, 2014) he was asked by reporter Alan Holdren, who works for Catholic News Agency, ACI Prensa in Lima, Peru, and EWTN,  “As you know, United States military forces have just begun to bomb terrorists in Iraq in order to prevent a genocide, to protect the future of minorities – I’m also thinking of the Catholics in your care.  Do you approve of this American bombing?”

Pope Francis:
Thank you for your very clear question.  In these cases, where there is an unjust aggression, I can only say that it is licit to stop the unjust aggressor.  I emphasize the word: “stop”.  I’m not saying drop bombs, make war, but stop the aggressor.  The means used to stop him would have to be evaluated.  Stopping an unjust aggressor is licit.  But we also need to remember!  How many times, with this excuse of stopping an unjust aggressor, the powers have taken over peoples and carried on an actual war of conquest!  One nation alone cannot determine how to stop an unjust aggressor. After the Second World War, there was the idea of the United Nations: that is where discussion was to take place, to say: Is this an unjust aggressor?  It would seem so.  How do we stop him?”  This alone, nothing else.  Second, minorities.  Thanks for using that word. Because people say to me: “the Christians, the poor Christians…”  And it is true, they are suffering, and martyrs, yes, there are many martyrs.  But there are also men and women, religious minorities, not all Christians, and all are equal before God.  To stop an unjust aggressor is a right of humanity, but it is also a right of the aggressor to be stopped in order not to do evil. Vatican Press Office

“. . . authentic dialogue also demands a capacity for empathy. For dialogue to take place, there has to be this empathy. We are challenged to listen not only to the words which others speak, but to the unspoken communication of their experiences, their hopes and aspirations, their struggles and their deepest concerns. Such empathy must be the fruit of our spiritual insight and personal experience, which lead us to see others as brothers and sisters, and to “hear”, in and beyond their words and actions, what their hearts wish to communicate. In this sense, dialogue demands of us a truly contemplative spirit of openness and receptivity to the other. I cannot engage in dialogue if I am closed to others. Openness? Even more: acceptance! Come to my house, enter my heart. My heart welcomes you. It wants to hear you. This capacity for empathy enables a true human dialogue in which words, ideas and questions arise from an experience of fraternity and shared humanity. If we want to get to the theological basis of this, we have to go to the Father: he created us all; all of us are children of one Father. This capacity for empathy leads to a genuine encounter – we have to progress toward this culture of encounter – in which heart speaks to heart. We are enriched by the wisdom of the other and become open to travelling together the path to greater understanding, friendship and solidarity.” Read the entire address

ROME – A delegation of 15 Argentine Jewish leaders was hosted for an informal kosher lunch at the Vatican’s Santa Marta guesthouse by Pope Francis.

Latin American Jewish Congress Executive Director Claudio Epelman, who organized the meeting together with Argentine Rabbi Abraham Skorka, said it was an “extraordinary gesture by Pope Francis to take more than two hours out of his busy schedule for a conversation with Jewish leaders from his native Argentina.” Epelman said that the conversations with the Catholic pontiff focused on strengthening inter-faith dialogue.

Epelman, who is the World Jewish Congress official in charge of dialogue with the Catholic Church, added that welcoming the delegation, Pope Francis expressed hope that “this meeting will help nurture the seeds we have planted together” and emphasized how he was looking forward “with great expectations” to his visit to Israel in May. The LAJC executive director added that at the end of the luncheon, the Pope and the Jewish leaders together intoned Psalm 133 in Hebrew, which says, “How good and pleasant it is when G-d’s people live together in unity!”

The Jewish community of Argentina is the largest in Latin America. Participating at the meeting on Thursday were, among others, World Jewish Congress Vice-President Julio Schlosser, who is the head of the Argentine Jewish umbrella organization DAIA, Rabbi Skorka, Claudio Epelman, and Cardinal Kurt Koch, the Vatican official in charge of dialogue with the Jews.
[From the Newsletter of the World Jewish Congress, January 16, 2014]

In the final days of November 2013 Pope Francis made two significant statements regarding the Catholic Church’s position on interreligious dialogue. The first came in his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium, issued on November 24, 2013. In paragraphs 250-254 he speaks of interreligious dialogue as a necessary condition for peace in the world and refers to the essential bond between dialogue and proclamation. Emphasizing the importance of and conditions for dialogue with Islam, he concludes by describing the spiritual treasures of other religions as the work of the Holy Spirit from which Christians can benefit. Complete document on the Vatican website.  
On November 28, 2013, Pope Francis addressed the plenary session of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. The Vatican News Service reported on his speech as follows:
Vatican City, 28 November 2013 (VIS) – The Catholic Church is conscious of the value of the promotion of friendship and respect between men and women of different religious traditions. We are increasingly aware of its importance, both because the world has, in some ways, become 'smaller', and because the phenomenon of migration increases contact between people and communities of different traditions, cultures and religions. This fact calls to our Christian conscience and it is a challenge for the understanding of faith and for the real life … of many believers”. For the complete VIS report, click here.
The full text of the Pope’s remarks to the PCID (in Italian) is available on the Vatican website.  
Vatican City, 11 October 2013 (VIS) – “As Bishop of Rome, I feel particularly close to the life of the Jewish community of the Urbe: I know that, with over two thousand years' uninterrupted presence, you may claim to be the most ancient in western Europe”. This morning, with these words, Pope Francis received in audience the Jewish community of Rome, led by the chief rabbi Riccardo Di Segni, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the deportation of the Jews of Rome.
“For many centuries the Jewish community and the Church of Rome have co-existed in this city, with a history that has, as we well know, often been marred with misunderstandings and real injustice”, he continued. “However, by now this history includes, with the help of God, many decades of the development of friendly and brotherly relations. On the Catholic side, the reflection of the Second Vatican Council has certainly contributed to this change in mentality, but a no less important contribution has come from the life and action, on both sides, of wise and generous men, capable of recognising the call of the Lord and of courageously walking new paths of encounter and dialogue”.
The Pope went on to mention the “common tragedy of the war” which, paradoxically, “taught us to walk together”, and he made reference to the 70th anniversary of the deportation of the Jews of Rome on 16 October 1943. On that day, more than a thousand Roman Jews were rounded up and deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland; only sixteen of them returned home. “We remember and pray for the many innocent victims of human barbarism, and for their families. It will also be an occasion to recall the importance of remaining vigilant in order that we do not regress, under any pretext, to any forms of intolerance and anti-Semitism, in Rome and in the rest of the world I have said it before, and I would like to repeat once more: it is a contradiction for a Christian to be anti-Semitic. His roots are in part Jewish. A Christian cannot be anti-Semitic! May anti-Semitism be banished from the heart and the life of every man and woman!” exclaimed Pope Francis.
He continued, “This anniversary also reminds us how the Christian community has known how to reach out to its brothers in difficulty during their darkest hours. We know that many religious institutions, monasteries and indeed the Papal Basilicas, in accordance with the wishes of the Pope, opened their doors to provide a fraternal welcome, and that Christians offered the assistance, great or small, that they were able to give. The great majority were certainly not aware of the need to improve their Christian understanding of Judaism, and perhaps they knew little of the life of the Jewish community. However, they had the courage to do what was, in that moment, the right thing – to protect their brother in danger. I like to underline this aspect, because while it is true that it is important for both sides to deepen their theological reflection through dialogue, it is also true that there exists a vital dialogue, that of everyday experience, that is no less fundamental. Indeed, without this, without a true and concrete culture of encounter, that leads to the forging of genuine relations without prejudices or suspicions, effort in the intellectual field would be of little worth. Again, here, as I often like to emphasise, the People of God have their own insight and intuit the path that God asks them to follow”.
“I hope to contribute, here in Rome, as bishop, to this nearness and friendship, as I received the grace, and it was a grace, of being able to do with the Jewish community in Buenos Aires. Among the many things we have in common there is the testimony to the ten words, the Decalogue, as the solid foundation and source of life also for our societies, disorientated as they are by a relativism that leads us to lose solid and secure points of reference”.
“I invoke with you the protection and blessing of the Almighty for this, our joint path of friendship and trust. May He, in his infinite benevolence, concede His peace in our days”, concluded the Holy Father.
 "As leaders of different religions there is much we can do. Peace is the responsibility of everyone. To pray for peace, to work for peace! A religious leader is always a man or woman of peace, for the commandment of peace is inscribed in the depths of the religious traditions that we represent. But what can we do? Your annual meeting suggests the way forward: the courage of dialogue. This courage, this dialogue gives us hope. It has nothing to do with optimism; it's entirely different. Hope! In the world, in society, there is little peace also because dialogue is missing, we find it difficult to go beyond the narrow horizon of our own interests in order to open ourselves to a true and sincere comparison. Peace requires a persistent, patient, strong, intelligent dialogue by which nothing is lost. Dialogue can overcome war. Dialogue can bring people of different generations who often ignore one another to live together; it makes citizens of different ethic backgrounds and of different beliefs coexist. Dialogue is the way of peace. For dialogue fosters understanding, harmony, concord and peace. For this reason, it is vital that it grow and expand between people of every condition and belief, like a net of peace that protects the world and especially protects the weakest members.
 "As religious leaders, we are called to be true “people of dialogue”, to cooperate in building peace not as intermediaries but as authentic mediators. Intermediaries seek to give everyone a discount ultimately in order to gain something for themselves. However, the mediator is one who retains nothing for himself, but rather spends himself generously until he is consumed, knowing that the only gain is peace. Each one of us is called to be an artisan of peace, by uniting and not dividing, by extinguishing hatred and not holding on to it, by opening paths to dialogue and not by constructing new walls! Let us dialogue and meet each other in order to establish a culture of dialogue in the world, a culture of encounter." Full text 
In his “Letter from Rome” in the August 31, 2013 issue of The Tablet, Robert Mickens reports on an “especially interesting event” when Pope Francis briefly greeted a group of some 200 students from of the Seibu Gauken Bunri Junior High School of Tokyo on August 21. He writes,
“Pope Francis’ impromptu talk to the group is worth noting. He told the students about the importance of the ‘beautiful adventure’ of entering into dialogue with other people, other cultures and other religions. He said it must be done in ‘meekness’ and by listening to others.
“‘And if you don’t think like me [and] don’t convince me, we are friends just the same—because I’ve learned how you think and you’ve learned how I think,’ he said.
“‘This is the dialogue that makes peace. You can’t have peace without dialogue,’ the Pope told the adolescents. ‘I hope this trip for you will be very fruitful, because getting to know other persons and cultures is also very good for us and helps us grow,’ he said.”
As reported by the Vatican News Service on June 14,  2013, Pope Francis, in an address to the personnel of the Jesuit journal La Civiltà Cattolica, said, “Your fidelity to the Church still needs you to stand strong against the hypocrisies that result from a closed and sick heart. But your main task isn't to build walls but bridges. It is to establish a dialogue with all persons, even those who don't share the Christian faith but who cultivate outstanding qualities of the human spirit and even with those who oppress the Church and harass her in manifold ways. . . . Through dialogue it is always possible to get closer to the truth, which is a gift of God, and to enrich one another.” He went on to say that dialogue means “being convinced that the other has something good to say, making room for their point of view, their opinion, their proposals, without falling, of course, into relativism. For dialogue [to exist] it is necessary to lower the defenses and open the doors.” The full text, in Italian, is available on the Vatican website. An English translation is available on the Zenit website.

In an article appearing in e-International Relations entitled “In the Footsteps of John XXIII: Pope Francis and the Embodiment of Vatican II,” John Borelli, Special Assistant for Interreligious Initiatives to President John J. DeGioia of Georgetown University, writes, “We can expect a renewed emphasis on dialogue as central to Catholic identity, which was defined by Vatican II fifty years ago. It will be a dialogue that not only listens and seeks mutual understanding, but also a dialogue oriented towards alleviating the problems of poverty, distribution of wealth, and other threats to peace.”

On March 20, the day following his inauguration of his ministry as Bishop of Rome and successor of the Apostle Peter, Pope Francis received representative envoys of Churches, Ecclesial Communities, and international ecumenical organizations, as well as representatives of non-Christian Religions, who had come to Rome.In his greeting to those belonging to other religious traditions, he first of all addressed the Muslims who “adore the one, living, and merciful God and who call upon Him in prayer.” Read more 
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