Saturday, November 2, 2019

Pope Francis opens Interreligious Art Exhibition to Promote Peace through Culture "as tools to open paths of peace..." Video



Atrium of the Pontifical Lateran University
Thursday, 31 October 2019

Distinguished Representatives of Churches, Communities and Religions,
Ladies and Gentlemen Ambassadors,
Dear students!

I am pleased to be here with you at the conclusion of this Study Day organized by the Lateran University on Peace Education, in preparation for the Global Education Pact event that we will live on May 14 next year.

Educating for peace requires giving relief and response to those - many, unfortunately - that conflicts and wars condemn to death or force them to abandon their loved ones, their homes and their countries of origin. We must take care of the expectations and anxieties of so many of our brothers and sisters. We cannot remain indifferent, limiting ourselves to invoking peace. Everyone, educators and students, are called to build and protect peace every day, turning our prayer to God to give it to us as a gift.

Responsibility towards the new generations requires above all a commitment to form them and listen to them in order to respond to the challenges of our times, without denying the immutable value of truth, but with an understandable and current language. It is not enough to be critical of the past or of the existing, it is necessary to show creativity and proposals for the future, helping each person to grow to become a protagonist and not just a spectator.

Peace, human dignity, inclusion and participation show how necessary a broad educational pact is able to transmit not only the knowledge of technical contents, but also and above all a human and spiritual wisdom, made of justice, righteousness, virtuous behavior and capable of realizing itself in practice. How many times are the youngest excluded because the proposed objectives are not really viable, or are they only meant to satisfy limited interests? Instead of conditioning the future path of the young generations, we should rather pass on to them a method capable of enhancing the experience, even the negative one - and what is more negative than war and violence? A method capable of looking at the facts in their causes and providing the tools to overcome conflicts and conflicts.

For those who are called to educate in the light of their religion or their beliefs, this commitment also becomes a way of bearing witness and helping others to find an alternative model to the material and merely horizontal one. Many times we too, women and men of faith, limit ourselves to giving indications rather than transmitting the experience of values ​​and virtues. And so, in the face of conflicts and the need to build peace, we do not realize that our message is likely to be abstract and remain unheeded, theoretical. Even a habitat that defines itself as "religious", but actually an ideological one, generates feelings of violence and even a desire for revenge in some people. Faced with the lack of peace, it is not enough to invoke freedom from war, proclaim rights or even use authority in its various forms. Above all, it is necessary to question oneself, to recover the ability to be among people, to dialogue with them and to understand their needs, perhaps with our weakness, which is then the most authentic way to be welcomed when we speak of peace.

Not only believers, but all those who are animated by good will know how necessary dialogue is in all its forms. Dialogue does not only serve to prevent and resolve conflicts, but it is a way to bring out the values ​​and virtues that God has written in the heart of every man and has made evident in the order of creation. Searching and exploring every opportunity for dialogue is not just a way to live or coexist, but rather an educational criterion. Dialogue is an educational criterion. In this line, the course of studies in inter-confessional theology started in this University finds its rightful place. Go ahead, with courage. How much we need men of faith who educate in true dialogue, using every possibility and opportunity!

Your current works will end with the opening of an exhibition that presents works whose language wants to be dialogical. The paintings of the Saudi artist Al-Khuzaiem are proposed as tools to open paths of peace, to recall rights, and to make the person the center of every action and every educational project.
This moment becomes even more significant because it reminds us of the work of a man of dialogue and peacemaker, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran. His life was all projected in the perspective of dialogue. First of all, dialogue with God, which the Christian, the priest and bishop Tauran cultivated, to whom he inspired the choices and actions and in which he found comfort during his illness. The second is the dialogue between peoples, governments and international institutions for which the diplomat Tauran did his utmost by favoring the conclusion of agreements, mediations or proposing solutions, including technical ones, to conflicts that threatened peace, limited the rights of the man and obscured freedom of conscience. The third, the dialogue between religions, which saw the Cardinal spend himself not to reaffirm the points already in common, but to search for and build new ones. As President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, he has made us understand that it is not enough to stop at what brings us closer, but it is necessary to explore new possibilities so that different religious traditions can transmit peace as a message, as well as a message of peace .

There is an episode in his service to the Holy See and to the Church that makes us understand the anxieties and aspirations, but also the simplicity and depth of this man of God. In June 1993 in Vienna, during the United Nations Conference on human rights, the then Monsignor Tauran had just finished his speech, recalling the necessary dialogue between religions. On leaving the grandstand, a member of the Saudi Arabian delegation met him by chance, asking how to deepen the importance of dialogue. His response was: "We can do it when I come to your country." That desire accompanied him over the years and he found fulfillment only a few months before his return to the Father's house with his visit to Riyadh in April 2018.

The willingness to dialogue supported, even in illness, this figure of a priest, loyal and helpful, a friend, who also for me was important and of great help to understand many situations in my service as Bishop of Rome and successor of Peter.

My thanks go to those who have contributed to this initiative. To all I address the invitation to pray without ceasing and to make every effort so that through an authentic Global Educational Pact we can inaugurate an era of peace for the entire human family. Thanks.
Full Text + Image Source: - Unofficial Translation

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