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Interreligious dialogue is vital pope tells bishops

VATICAN (SE): Pope Benedict XVI made a big push for interreligious dialogue as a means of working for peace and understanding among peoples when speaking to the bishops from Indonesia during their ad limina visit to the Vatican on October 7.
“Your country, so rich in its cultural diversity and possessed of a large population, is home to significant numbers of followers of various religious traditions,” the pope told the bishops.
“Thus, Indonesians are well-placed to make important contributions to the quest for peace and understanding among the peoples of the world. Your participation in this great enterprise is decisive, and so I urge you to ensure that those whom you shepherd know that they, as Christians, are to be agents of peace, perseverance and charity,” the pope continued.
Speaking in English, Pope Benedict continued, “Believers in Christ, rooted in charity, ought to be committed to dialogue with other religions, respecting mutual differences. Common endeavours for the building up of society will be of great value when they strengthen friendships and overcome misunderstanding or distrust.”
Pope Benedict went on to say, “I have confidence that you and the priests, religious and laity of your dioceses will continue to bear witness to the image and likeness of God in each man, woman and child, regardless of their faith, by encouraging everyone to be open to dialogue in the service of peace and harmony.”
The bishop of Rome continued, saying, “By doing everything possible to ensure that the rights of minorities in your country are respected, you further the cause of tolerance and mutual harmony in your country and beyond.”
He added that despite the tension that Indonesia has experienced over past years between Christians and Muslims, the constitutional guarantee of freedom of religion is something to safeguard.
He added that working with all people of good will goes a long way towards strengthening that freedom in practice, and dialogue is one of the strongest mechanisms at our disposal for doing this.

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