Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, addressed the opening session of the Global Forum of the King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID).
The two day event, which reflected on the theme, “The Image of the Other”, was held in Vienna, Austria.
Beginning his address, Cardinal Tauran said that in this changing world that is becoming more and more provisional, “religions are called to propose – not to impose – reasons for living.”
Both political and religious leaders should have the human person at the center of attention. “All of us belong to the same human family,” he said. “It means that we share the same dignity, we are confronted by the same problems, we enjoy the same rights and we are called to accomplish the same duties.”
The president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue stated, however, that people are too often judged by how they appear or how much they produce, thus reducing them to an object.
The importance of interreligious dialogue, he stressed, allows for a greater respect among people of different faiths and walks of life. “To consider diversity – ethical, cultural, vision of the world – as richness, not as a threat,” the Cardinal said.
“Interreligious dialogue,” he continued, “can contribute to give to God again the place which He deserves; to inspire fraternity; and to give the wisdom and courage to act.”
Regarding the theme of the two day forum, Cardinal Tauran told participants that it is an invitation to reevaluate oneself in order to “purify” that which closes us to what is new. “To look at the other means also to accept being questioned by him about our faith and to be ready to give an account of it.”
Concluding his address, Cardinal Tauran expressed his hope that the meeting of the KAICIID will send a message to the world that it is possible for diverse cultures can come together and share “in order to make this world more secure and enlightened.”