Interreligious cooperation to tackle threats to planet

Interreligious cooperation and dialogue are needed more than ever while people and the planet are facing multiple threats, Pope Francis says.

Speaking to a delegation of Buddhists from Thailand, he said “Sadly, on all sides, we hear the cry of a wounded humanity and a broken earth”.

Inviting Buddhists to continue to work together with the Catholic Church “to cultivate compassion and hospitality for all human beings, especially the poor and marginalised,” Francis pointed to our shared humanity.

Both Christians and Buddhists need to guide their respective followers to recognise more vividly the truth that “we are all brothers and sisters,” he said.

“It follows that we should work together to cultivate compassion and hospitality for all human beings, especially the poor and marginalised.

“We need to deal with violence too,” he said.

“The Buddha and Jesus understood the need to overcome the egoism that gives rise to conflict and violence.

“The Dhammapada sums up the Buddha’s teachings thus: ‘To avoid evil, to cultivate good and to cleanse one’s mind – this is the teaching of the Buddha’. (Dph 183).

“Jesus told his disciples: ‘I give you a new Commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.’” (Jn 13:34).

The main reason for the Buddhist delegation’s visit to the Vatican was to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the meeting between St. Paul VI and the 17th supreme Buddhist patriarch of Thailand, Somdej Phra Wannarat.

Thanking them for their visit, Francis told them he wanted to renew the bonds of friendship and mutual collaboration.

Renewing Paul VI’s sentiments when he met the Thai delegation 50 years ago, Francis said: “We have a profound regard for the spiritual, moral and socio-cultural treasures that have been bestowed on you through your precious traditions.”

The past 50 years have seen a gradual and steady growth of “friendly dialogue and close collaboration” between the two religious traditions, he noted.

Recalling his apostolic visit to Thailand in 2019, Francis recalled “the wonderful welcome and hospitality” he received.

“At a time when our human family and our planet are facing manifold threats, such friendly dialogue and close collaboration are all the more necessary,” he said.


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News category: World.

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