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J. Schlosser: Address at World Summit 2014

Address at World Summit 2014, Seoul, Korea, August 9-13, 2014


Some minutes ago I listened to the representative of India saying that this is the Summit of diversity, and this is what makes it important. Buddhists, Muslims, Jewish, Catholics –with their most different varieties–are here for four words: religion, peace, security and development. Listening to the different speakers, we have a clear idea of what is the problem. But we have to add that Rev. Moon proposed a solution to this problem. And we listen about the project of the tunnel, the roads… Solutions to our problems, problems which involve our humanity.

Religion, peace, security, and development. This is a challenge. If we were to leave only to have known the problems we face, it would be useless having traveled from so far away, as in my case, who traveled 26 hours by plane, to listen to a list of problems we can read on the newspapers or through the internet. Those who are here have to propose some kind of solution which leads us through a path that allows us to find religion, peace, security, and development.

In the year 2004, by initiative of former Cardinal Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, the Institute of Interreligious Dialogue was created in my country. It has been running for ten years. This institute – which started with a priest, a rabbi and an imam – now has people from almost all the religions recognized in our country. In March, a group of Jewish, Catholics and Muslims went to Jerusalem and talked to the Latin Patriarch, all of us: Jewish, Muslims, and Catholics. And from Jerusalem we went to Tel Aviv and talked to the Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah. And from there we went to Amman, Jordan, to talk to King Abdullah II. And from there we all went to the Vatican, where we were welcomed by Pope Francis.

This is the beginning of a path. What we are proposing here is to use religion so we can know each other somehow, since the worst fear people have is the fear of the unknown. Maybe there are many things that I have to learn after listening to the Buddhist representative.

The secret is to go beyond tolerating the other. When I was a kid, I “tolerated” a syrup because I had no other choice. But I did not want it. The important thing is to accept the other, accept them just as they are, and enrich ourselves with what they want to give us. Because, undoubtedly, the other may have much more to give me than what I can give him or her.

On my way here, I said to myself “I am not going to write anything, since I am going to be one of the last ones to speak, and it is possible that all I have written has been said, so I would not know where to go.” But I can take things from everyone’s speeches, so as to build this dialogue and these proposals that have been addressed here. Today, Michael Jenkins said: “Be careful, today’s enemy is terrorism.” Today’s enemy is terrorism. And the love given by this Summit has to be prepared to face it. When the representative of Kenya talked, she said that her president expressed that a terrorist is a murderer who must pay according to the common law. And that’s how it is. We also heard during the evening that the enemy of peace is terrorism, a terrorism which wants to justify its actions by hiding behind God and its religion. Let us not be confused. There is no religion and there is no God who supports the death of innocent civilians. Let’s make this clear, because if this is not clear, terrorism is going to win.

We came here to analyze three things: peace, security and development, which are three legs of the same table. A three-legged table falls if I remove just one leg. There is no peace if I remove security, because if there is no security there is not going to be development. If I remove development, there is not going to be security or peace. And if I remove peace, there cannot be development or security. And when we talk about equality of opportunities, there has to be equality from the beginning. It is not enough to say education for all, free and open, if we have children who cannot take advantage of it because they have nothing to eat. Equality of opportunities has to be equality in the starting point. When we set out from the starting point in this difficult race which is life, everybody needs the same strength. There is always someone who arrives before and someone who arrives later, but the ones who cannot eat never arrive, and we have to put our effort there.

Peace, security and development with equality of opportunities, with equality in the starting point for everyone. The major crimes, as was said a moment ago, were committed in the name of God. But let’s not be deceived. We were taught that these crimes were committed in the name of God, but God does not support these crimes. Neither does Islam, nor Judaism, nor Buddhism, nor any other religion. Religion, as has been said before, teaches us to love each other, and this is going to work when we look at each other as ourselves. It will work when we do not want to change them, not when we tolerate them, but when we accept them, when we work together to achieve what is summarized by these three words: peace, security and development.

This is why I am here, and I appreciate the opportunity that a representative of the “end of the world,” as was said by the Pope, who came from Argentina and who is also Jewish, has this chance, since this is the doctrine of Rev. Moon, who proposed working together.

To conclude, I ask you to reflect silently for a moment and then repeat with me these words: “I am committed to fight and work for peace, security and development.”