Conference on ‘Promoting Peace Together’: Opening Address
H.E. Bishop Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot
Ecumenical Centre, Geneva
21 May 2019
Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, Secretary General of the WCC,
Distinguished representatives of other religious traditions
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
I am grateful to Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, Secretary General of the WCC and the staff for organising this seminar to disseminate the message of the historic Document on ‘Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together.’ I also thank you all for your valuable presence on this occasion.
Since the beginning of His Pontificate, Pope Francis has always invited us to promote a ‘culture of dialogue’ through mutual respect and friendship. In this regard, the Document on ‘Human Fraternity’ is truly a milestone on the path of interreligious dialogue. It marks how far we have come together, but it is also a point of departure. It is a new dynamic which takes us from being only face-to-face, to our standing shoulder-to-shoulder in order to promote peace and coexistence by looking at the future together. Thus, the Document on Human Fraternity is not so much a map, but a day-to-day commitment of working together for the common good and contributing, as believers, along with people of good will, to heal our wounded world.
By fraternity, it is intended human relationships that draw from the depth of the meaning of family – sister/brother – not only fellowship or friendship, but also the inextricable bond that is the human family. Fraternity cannot mean exclusive to my group, community, culture, religion but inclusive of all. Fraternity can be the dynamic, as the Document suggests, by which we rise above differences and instead build bridges of coexistence for a new world.
Through our efforts in Interreligious Dialogue, as members of one human family, we promote the dignity of each person, recognizing her or him as sisters and brothers, at all times in every part of the world. We do not start at zero in dialogue: there is always our shared humanity, with all its existential and practical aspects, which provides the needed meeting ground.
Pope Francis in his speech at the Global Conference of Human Fraternity said: “There is no alternative: either we will build the future together or there will be no future. Religions in particular cannot renounce the urgent task of building bridges between peoples and cultures. The time has come when religions should more actively exert themselves, with courage and audacity, and without pretense, to help the human family deepen the capacity for reconciliation, the vision of hope and the concrete paths of peace.” (Address of Pope Francis at the Global Conference of Human Fraternity, Founder’s Memorial Abu Dhabi, 4.2.2019).
Beside the well-known obstacles, confrontations, prejudices and conflicts in today’s world, the Abu Dhabi Declaration beckons us to move beyond any difficulty by remaining always rooted in our own identity, avoiding any kind of syncretism, and supported by the sincerity of our intentions.
In this way, we commit ourselves to serve humanity through our mutual collaboration in promoting that peace which the world yearns for. Let us promote this historic Document on Human Fraternity calling everyone to reflect and study this new chance for peace and coexistence.
As Pope Francis and the Grand Imam Ahmed Al-Tayyeb have shown us in their ‘universal call’, through their Declaration that excludes no one, no time, no place for the good of humanity, the culture of encounter and mutual knowledge is not a utopian ideal. It is a necessary condition for living in peace, and leaving a better world to future generations.
It is my heartfelt wish and profound desire that the Abu Dhabi Declaration bring fruits for the development of a new phase of interreligious dialogue.
Thank you so much for your interest and attention.