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Holy See: Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, final statement of 6th Buddhist-Christian colloquium in Taiwan

“Hearing the cry of the victims of violence in its multiple forms and also decrying and curbing the threats of unbridled nationalism, sexism, racism, casteism, ethnicism, and religious and secular fundamentalism; eradicating poverty, injustice, inequality, exploitation, and discrimination; recognizing the positive influence of the media in encouraging nonviolent actions for global peace and warning the public of the negative impact of fake news, which can provoke estrangement, division, prejudice and violence between people of different cultures and religions; encouraging concrete actions at the national, regional, and global levels aimed at restoring polarized societies through justice, reconciliation, and forgiveness, as well as advancing the equality and dignity of women in order to prevent violence and discrimination against them, especially the scourge of domestic violence”. These are some of the key points agreed on by the over 80 participants, from 18 countries, who took part in the 6th Buddhist-Christian Colloquium from 13 to 16 November in Taiwan sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and the “Ling Jiou Mountain” Buddhist Society. The members expressed satisfaction at the improved relations between Christians and Buddhists and acknowledged the hard work carried out in recent years in the promotion of peace, non-violence, respect, and the encounter of cultures. However, “much remains to be done”, the final statement of the meeting reads. Indeed, we live in “a critical time, when violence has already wreaked havoc in many countries, leaving people in desperate need of healing, justice, forgiveness, and reconciliation. Violence and conflicts today cross borders, and thus local problems become national, regional, and at times, even global”. There is no time to lose. According to the final statement released by the Holy See today, there is a need to develop “safe, stable, nurturing and caring relationships between children and their parents, relatives, teachers, elders, orphans and others, in order to form wholesome individuals and inclusive societies” and to reaffirm “the importance of education”, recognizing that “we and the other share a common humanity, regardless of ethnic, religious, cultural, or socioeconomic differences, so as to avert and minimize verbal, physical, sexual, and psychological abuse”. Other priorities that emerged from the meeting are safeguarding the environment, promoting “prayer, silence and meditation to cultivate inner freedom, purity of heart, compassion, forgiveness, healing and the gift of self as essential conditions for the inner peace of the individual as well as for social peace”. Hence “the important role that faith-based organizations, people of goodwill, civil society, governmental organizations, and centres of education can play” in fostering interfaith and intercultural dialogue.

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