VATICAN CITY (CNS) — In a time when the world is mired in conflicts, religious leaders have a duty to show that it is possible to set aside differences and work together for the common good, Pope Francis said.
“Dialogue and cooperation are essential at a time like our own when complex and unprecedented factors have led to increased tensions and conflicts, accompanied by violence on both a small and a large scale,” the pope said May 16.
Before attending his weekly general audience, Pope Francis met with a delegation from the Dharmic religions — Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism — who were in Rome attending an interreligious conference.
The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and several organizations representing the four Dharmic religions sponsored the event, titled “Dharma and Logos: Dialogue and cooperation in a complex age.”
Although it is a concept with various meanings ranging from cosmic law and order to proper religious practices, dharma is a key philosophy within the four religions that originated in India.
Participants of the conference released a joint declaration in the afternoon reaffirming their commitment “mutual human solidarity” and respect for religious traditions “to effectively confront the challenges of our time and to build a culture of encounter and dialogue.”
“We appeal to religious leaders, professors and followers of our religions to build bridges and unite our hands with all people of good will to contribute in building peace in the world today and tomorrow,” the statement said.
The pope thanked the delegation for their efforts in creating “a culture of encounter” through dialogue that is “in the service of life, human dignity and the care of creation.”
“I thank you for what you have done by coming together, in accordance with your respective religious traditions, to promote goodness in our world,” he said, “and upon you and your communities, I invoke an abundance of divine blessings.”
Pope Francis also met with a group of Buddhists from Thailand who gave him a translation of an ancient text that was given as a gift to Pope Pius XI in 1934 by the late Thai King Rama VII, the last absolute monarch of the country.
According to the Asian church news portal ucanews.com, the Vatican commissioned the monks of Bangkok’s Wat Pho Temple to translate the 200-year-old Buddhist scripture written in the ancient Khmer language.
A group of monks from the temple divided the text into seven chapters which included teachings on chants, poetic stories and several teachings and orders made by Gautama Buddha, the ascetic founder of Buddhism.
Thanking the delegation for the translated text, the pope said it was a “tangible sign of your generosity and of the friendship we have shared for so many years, a journey made of many small steps.”
“It is my heartfelt wish that Buddhists and Catholics will grow increasingly closer, advance in knowledge of one another and in esteem for their respective spiritual traditions and offer the world a witness to the values of justice, peace and the defense of human dignity,” Pope Francis said.
The 185-page text took 11 months to translate into Italian and will be displayed at the Vatican Museums. It will also be translated into seven other languages, including Chinese, Italian, French and Spanish, ucanews.com reported.
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
PREVIOUS: Indonesian religious leaders, former first lady form anti-terrorism group
NEXT: Pilgrims brave dangerous neighborhoods to pray at Trinidad shrine
Share this story