Pope: Dialogue between religions key in countering violence

Pope Francis on Jan. 24 stressed the need for dialogue between different faiths, saying that it is essential in preventing violence and promoting peace.
“Perhaps now more than ever such a need is felt, because the most effective antidote against all forms of violence is education towards the discovery and acceptance of differences,” he said, according to Vatican Radio.
The pope spoke to members of the Pontifical Institute of Arabic and Islamic Studies at an audience marking the 50th anniversary of the institute’s opening.
He praised the group’s efforts to promote Christian-Muslim dialogue, emphasizing the importance of such dialogue in achieving peace.
“If it is assumed that we all belong to human nature, prejudices and falsehoods can be overcome and an understanding of the other according to a new perspective can begin,” he said.
While progress has been made in inter-religious dialogue, the pope said, more must be done. Listening to one another is necessary to understand shared beliefs and values.
“At the heart of everything is the need for an adequate formation so that, steadfast in one’s own identity, we can grow in mutual knowledge,” Pope Francis explained in a Catholic News Agency report.
At the same time he warned against a false approach to dialogue that “says yes to everything in order to avoid problems.”
“It would end up becoming ‘a way of deceiving others and denying them the good which we have been given to share generously with others,’” he stated, according to Vatican Radio.
Ending his remarks, the pope encouraged the institute to continue its work of fostering inter-religious dialogue and encouraging more work in this area.

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