Cardinal Ayuso: world needs interreligious dialogue for peace

By Devin Watkins and Lisa Zengarini

As the two-day “Bahrain Forum for Dialogue: East and West for Human Coexistence” wraps up with Pope Francis’ intervention on Friday, Cardinal Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot highlights the importance of these interreligious events to foster human fraternity and peace in a war-torn world.

To read Cardinal Ayuso’s full speech, also available in Arabic, click here.

Dialogue is an “existential attitude” that every human being should have in his or her life to promote peace in the world, according Cardinal Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, M.C.C.J.. The Prefect of the Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue made this observation referring to the “Bahrain Forum for Dialogue: East and West for Human Coexistence,” which ends on Friday with Pope Francis’ intervention that comes on the second day of his Apostolic Journey to Bahrain.

The “Bahrain Forum for Dialogue”

The two-day event has been sponsored by King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, to further the spirit of brotherhood and cooperation among followers of different faiths, while working together to address the world’s present challenges and issues that threaten the common home and peace, in the spirit of the historic Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together. That document was signed on 4 February 2019 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, by Pope Francis and Sheikh Ahmed Al-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Egypt’s Al-Azhar mosque.

The interreligious forum, which has gathered some 200 prominent religious leaders and scholars from across the world, is the latest of such events aimed at promoting a fraternal and peaceful coexistence among people of different religions and cultures for the sake of humanity, through dialogue and reciprocal understanding, also in line with Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter Fratelli tutti and Pope St. John Paul II’s “Spirit of Assisi”.

It comes less than two months after the 7th Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, in Nur-Sultan, in which Pope Francis took part in September this year during his Apostolic Journey to Kazakhstan, together with the Grand Imam Al-Tayeb – the highest authority in Sunni Islam – and Patriarch Batholomew of Constantinople.

On the footpath of the Pope and the Grand Imam

In the interview he gave to Vatican News on the sidelines of the “Bahrain Forum”, Cardinal AyusoGuixot highlighted the importance of these interreligious meetings, and specifically of this gathering, for peace in a war-torn world.

“In this context, the meeting we are holding here in Bahrain, is extremely important because through this Forum we come together again on the footpath of Pope Francis and the Great Imam (Al-Tayeb) of Al-Azhar.”

The Forum, he said, “is an invitation to the international community to implement this human fraternity which the world needs” and it is lovely to be able “to come together to promote this beautiful project of human dignity” in the face of ongoing conflicts and the concerns they give rise to.

Standing together for peace

Echoing Pope Francis’ words in his address to the Forum on Friday, Cardinal Ayuso, therefore, insisted on the need for religious leaders, in particular, to stand together and implement their relations, opposing confrontation, to help achieve the goal of peace which humanity aspires.