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Vatican hosts webinar on disarmament and interreligious dialogue

Cardinal Pietro Parolin at an Aid to the Church in Need press conference in Rome Italy on Sept 28 2017 Credit Daniel Ibanez CNA Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, speaks at a press conference in Rome, Sept. 28, 2017./ Daniel Ibanez/CNA.

The Vatican on Tuesday hosted a webinar on “advancing integral disarmament in times of pandemic,” with speakers from international organizations and video messages from representatives of the world’s major religions.

The three-hour webinar was hosted by the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and the Strategic Concept for the Removal of Arms and Proliferation (SCRAP).

SCRAP is a campaign group which promotes methods for achieving general and complete disarmament, including a draft text for nations to use in negotiating legally-binding agreements for disarmament.

The Vatican webinar was divided into three panels. After the opening, which included a keynote address by Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, international speakers addressed the topics of strengthening international norms for integral security and advancing ecumenical and interreligious cooperation for integral development.

In his address, Cardinal Parolin said the promotion of integral security “means transforming the instruments of hatred into instruments of peace. It means rejecting the growing proliferation of weapons and accepting the promotion of the common good and the alleviation of poverty.”

Parolin said we are facing multiple, interlinked humanitarian crises in different areas of the world, including food, health, mental, and economic crises.

“We cannot act in isolation” to solve these problems, he said, urging nations to invest in “health, social equity, and poverty eradication,” rather than weapons.

Other Vatican speakers included Archbishop Ivan Jurkovič, the Vatican’s representative at the UN in Geneva.

Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity; Cardinal Miguel Ayuso Guixot, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue; and Cardinal Silvano Tomasi, special delegate to the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, also spoke at the webinar.

Koch said Christian unity not only heals the Church, but also heals the world, and by promoting peace, Christian unity is also advanced.

Cardinal Ayuso emphasized the role interreligious dialogue can play in disarmament efforts.

“As we continue with this important work of proposing strategies to promote disarmament,” he said, “may we keep in mind the cries of those children, women, and men affected by wars of all types.”

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