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Cardinal Felix: Address to Latin America Summit 2018

 Address to Latin America Summit 2018, São Paulo, Brazil, August 2–5, 2018

I consider it an honor and privilege to have been invited to this distinguished gathering and Summit. My prayer is that my small intervention may contribute to the fruitful outcome of these deliberations.

The Catholic Church, which has its headquarters in Rome, has been relentless in her appeal and work for unity among the churches. Vatican Council documents of 1965 and my personal involvement at the local level as Associate General Secretary of the Caribbean Conference of Churches bears witness to this.

In his encyclical letter Populorum Progressio of 1967, Pope Paul V1 says, “Peace is the other name for Development.”

Today we come together in Sao Paulo to make this theme of development or progress of peoples the principal object of our meditations and prayers.

We are looking and working toward the unity of Christians, but we are looking also to the non-Christian religions, to the people who believe in God, who seek him as it is possible for everyone to seek him. And with all of them we unite ourselves going towards our common destiny, for this destiny is God himself. The Second Vatican Council deepened our conviction that all men and women of humanity are brothers and sisters, that we are all created by the same Creator, the same God our Father. We are all redeemed by the same Christ Jesus, Son of God; and God, his Spirit, the Holy Spirit, is working in the souls of every one of us, and that is this divine dimension of human existence. We are more and more discovering this divine dimension of human existence and we seek how to give expression to God. 

Pope Francis had already a long history of interfaith dialogue in Argentina, so when he moved to the Vatican, it was very natural for him to continue his quest to build world peace through dialogue and cooperation between the various great religions of the world. In April 2017, he told four Muslim Imams visiting him from England:

The most important work we must do today among ourselves and with humanity is the work of “the ear”: listening. Listening to one another without hurrying to give a response….

It’s interesting. When people have this ability to listen, they speak softly, tranquilly. But when they don’t have it, they speak loudly and even shout…. Religious people must listen to one another and speak to each other as brothers and sisters. Listen and speak softly, peacefully, seeking the path together….

To do this we must listen with the “heart.”

In September, last year, during a meeting with religious leaders from South Korea, Pope Francis said:

The world is looking to religious leaders for an example of how to work together peacefully in order to combat violence and preserve the dignity and rights of all people. We have, therefore, a long journey ahead of us, which must be undertaken together with humility and perseverance, not just by raising our voices but by rolling up our sleeves….

We must work to sow the hope of a future in which humanity becomes more human, a future which heeds the cry of so many who reject war and implore greater harmony between individuals and communities, between peoples and states.

He told them to “initiate, promote and accompany processes for the welfare and reconciliation of all people.” He called on them to reject violence, and to speak with words that oppose the current “narrative of fear” and “rhetoric of hatred” in the world. “The world is looking to us,” he urged. “It asks us to work together and with all men and women of good will.”

In short, I conclude, “Now is the time for action!”

And I would like to finish with this short video made by Pope Francis to foster prayer for interfaith dialog and cooperation:



To go to the Latin America Summit 2018 Schedule page, click here.