Pope stresses ‘great responsibility’ of religions to promote peace, harmony

Ulaanbaatar, Sep 3 (EFE).- Pope Francis said Sunday that religions had a “great responsibility” to promote peace and harmony in a “world rent by conflict and discord.”

He made these remarks in a speech at an ecumenical and interreligious event in Mongolia’s iconic Hun Theatre, in the nation’s capital of Ulaanbaatar, in which representatives of Shintoism, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Shamanism, and other Christian confessions took part, the Vatican said on its website.

The Pope arrived in the predominantly-Buddhist country on Friday to encourage the small Catholic community numbering about 1,500.

The Roman Catholic leader listened to the representatives sitting next to him on the stage of this small yurt theater, the tents of the nomads of Central Asia, and in which traditional music and dance performances are held on the outskirts of Ulaanbaatar.

“Brothers and sisters, our coming together here today is a sign that hope is possible,” he said.

“In a world rent by conflict and discord, this may seem utopian, yet the greatest undertakings are hidden and almost imperceptible at the outset,” the Pope said.

His Holiness went on to stress the responsibility of religions in promoting peace and harmony.

“The reconciled and prosperous humanity that we, as followers of different religions, seek to promote is symbolized by this harmony, togetherness and openness to the transcendent, which inspires a commitment to justice and peace,” he said.

“In this sense, dear brothers and sisters, we share a great responsibility, especially in this period of history, for we are called to testify to the teachings we profess by the way we act,” the Pope added.

“There can be no mixing, then of religious beliefs and violence, of holiness and oppression, of religious traditions and sectarianism,” he said.

The Pope said that the Buddhist communities, “bestow the strength needed to transform dark wounds into sources of light, senseless violence into wisdom of life, devastating evil into constructive goodness.”

The Catholic Church wishes to follow this path of working together, he added, firmly convinced of the importance of ecumenical, interreligious and cultural dialogue.

Pope Francis has received Buddhist representatives from Taiwan, Mongolia and Thailand on several occasions, but he has never met exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader, the Dalai Lama, who has been at loggerheads over Tibet with China. EFE


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