VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Growing tension, conflict and violence around the world challenge religious leaders to support dialogue and work together to promote universal moral values, a Vatican official said.

“At the origin of all these dramatic situations there is a limited vision of the human person that paves the way for the spread of injustice and inequality, thus leading to conflict situations,” said Archbishop Ivan Jurkovic, Vatican observer to U.N. agencies in Geneva.

Participating in a discussion Feb. 9 on “Faith, Peacebuilding and Development,” the archbishop urged religious leaders to promote “a universal ethical message.”


“Indeed, as it is in the mind and hearts of men that wars begin, it is from within our hearts and minds that the search for justice and peace must begin,” he said.

Interreligious dialogue, Archbishop Jurkovic said, is necessary for spreading a shared ethical message and for promoting the cooperation necessary to respond to global issues such as human rights violations, climate change and migration.

Religion is meant to unite, not to divide, he said, stressing the importance of harmony. Failures to reach “the peaceful resolution of conflicts and to achieve global disarmament are a testimony to the need for new efforts to foster harmony among believers,” Archbishop Jurkovic said.

But, he said, harmony is impossible without dialogue, which is “essential if we are to know, understand and respect one another.”