Vatican City, May 17, 2004 / 22:00 pm
“Dialogue must characterize the behaviour” of believers in “a new world equilibrium” of “ethnic, cultural and religious pluralism,” said the Holy Father this morning. His remarks come on the occasion of the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, whose participants he received this morning.
The Pope began his talk, entitled “Inter-cultural, Inter-religious and Ecumenical Dialogue in the Context of Migrations Today,” by highlighting the “massive migratory phenomenon which is sometimes marked by tragedies that shock consciences. From this phenomenon has come ethnic, cultural and religious pluralism which in general characterize national societies today.” He added that “if ‘globalization’ is the term that, more than any other, connotes modern historical evolution, then the word ‘dialogue’ must characterize the behavior, mental and pastoral, that we are all called to assume in view of a new world equilibrium. The consistent number of about 200 million migrants makes this even more urgent.”
“Every culture,” he went on, “has an approach to the mystery of man even in his religious dimension and that explains, as Vatican Council II says, why some elements of truth are found even outside the revealed message, even among those believers who worship elevated human values, though they do not know their source. We must approach all cultures with an attitude that is respectful of who is aware of not only having something to say and to give, but also of listening and receiving. … Thus, the need for inter-cultural dialogue.”
Turning to the question of inter-religious dialogue in a globalized world, the Holy Father noted that “integration among populations belonging to diverse cultures and religions is never without unknown factors and difficulties. This is true in particular for the immigration of Muslim believers, who pose specific problems. And it is necessary for pastors to assume, in this regard, precise responsibilities, promoting an ever more generous Gospel witness of Christians themselves.” He added that Churches must also “help the faithful to overcome prejudices.”