The president of the Pontifical Council for Culture and for Inter-religious Dialogue, Cardinal Paul Poupard, said this week that religions are not “part of the problem” of violence in today’s world but rather are part of “the solution.”
During a speech on the pontificate of Benedict XVI at the King Juan Carlos University in Spain, Cardinal Poupard explained that the current trend to see religion as the reason for terrorism, lack of security, AIDS in Africa, and the conflict in the Middle East and in Iraq” is the result of a “spiritual climate” that aims to return “to paganism in order to achieve a peaceful and tolerant society.”
The cardinal also warned against the dangers which result when “reason is deprived of any moral and religious reference,” pointing to such examples as the bombing of Hiroshima, the forgotten wars of Africa, the death of the unborn and the manipulation of embryos for research.
The cardinal emphasized that, “inter religious dialogue” is a “vital necessity” for the future of humanity, and that culture plays an important role in providing a way for people to come together and address “the great questions about human existence.”
“Authentic inter-religious dialogue cannot take place if it is not built upon the foundation of culture,” Cardinal Poupard said. “All inter-cultural dialogue is dialogue about the great religious questions,” he added. This is possible, the cardinal stressed, because despite all the differences, mankind is of “the same one, unique essence.” “Human nature enables dialogue between cultures,” he insisted.