Vatican Official: Religion Capable of Best, Worst

Calls Dialogue a Necessity

MONTAUBAN, France, JUNE 9, 2009 ( In multicultural and pluri-religious societies, religions are “capable of the best and the worst,” acknowledged a Vatican official.

Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, affirmed this during an international conference on religion held in France last Sunday and Monday.

Vatican Radio reported that the cardinal’s address mentioned those who present religion as a pretext for terrorism.

He called this a paradox that has the consequence of “religions being perceived as dangerous.”

When this happens in the context of Islam, the cardinal affirmed, “all of this does not refer to the true Islam practiced by the great majority of the faithful of this religion.”

God’s comeback

Despite religion’s negative reputation in some contexts, Cardinal Tauran contended that “the question of God comes up in a way that is more insistent than ever.”

“We are participating in a return of the religious event, a rebirth of the sacred,” he suggested.

The Vatican official urged a “serious knowledge of one’s own religious tradition,” so as to have clear one’s personal identity. He also affirmed that the Church is “open to the world” and that dialogue with the believers of other confessions is a “source of enrichment for everyone.”

The prelate clarified, however, that interreligious dialogue does not mean that “all religions teach more or less the same thing.” Instead, he explained, it means above all that “all people who seek God have the same dignity.”

It is important to “do everything possible to understand the other’s point of view,” the Vatican’s dialogue leader affirmed. He concluded citing Benedict XVI, affirming that “interreligious seeking and dialogue are not just one more option, but rather a necessity for our times.”

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