AWALI, Bahrain (CNS) – True love for God’s Creator means acting for his powerful children: the poor, the unborn, the elderly, the disabled and those abandoned by migrants, Pope Francis told representatives of various religious faiths. and international leaders.
If the believers don’t listen to their voices and don’t support the voiceless side, who will take it, he asked.
“Our task is to encourage and help sail the sea together – interdependent but disconnected at the same time,” he said in Bahrain on November 4, closing a two-day forum for dialogue: East and West for human coexistence. , sponsored by King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain.
The forum, held at Al-Fida Square in the Sahir Palace, showed that despite the divisions and destruction that have rocked the world, there are people who choose to unite “because we are all swimming in the same water and choosing the direction to sail. “It is not a confrontation, but a way of meeting and dialogue,” he said.
The Pope arrived in a compact white Fiat with Vatican City plates, flanked by a royal guard on horseback. Two helicopters flew overhead: one with the flag of the Holy See and the other with the flag of Bahrain. The Pope was then invited to pour water from an iron pitcher under a large palm tree.
In his address, the Pope said the world faces a choice: it can continue to foment conflict and simplistic division, impose “despotic, imperialist, nationalist and populist views” and turn a deaf ear to ordinary people and the poor. Or people can try to understand each other and cooperate for the good of everyone.
God wants his children to be “one family: not islands, but one great archipelago,” like Bahrain, the 33 islands in the Persian Gulf, the pope said. The world can only “move forward by swimming together; if we sail alone, we will sail away.”
“All people of faith must oppose the arms race, the trade of war and the market of death as people of peace,” he said. “True believers do not advocate ‘allying against some,’ but confronting all.”
Abandoning the prepared text, the pope repeated his and the king’s repeated calls for an end to the war against Ukraine and for “serious negotiations.”
Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin told reporters at the event that there must be openness and willingness to talk, otherwise the war will never end. In addition to the pope’s repeated calls for peace during his general audience talks and Angelus prayers, the Vatican has made it clear that it is ready for “all possible help,” the cardinal said.
Pope Francis told the forum that the 2019 document on the brotherhood of humanity, which called on religious leaders to build peace through cooperation, and the 2017 Bahrain declaration called on them to turn their common principles into concrete realities.
According to him, the declarations call for true freedom of religion, not the recognition of freedom of worship and permission to build places of worship.
According to him, each society and faith must ask itself, “Does God’s creation force them from the outside or free them from the inside?” whether it helps people reject rigidity, narrow-mindedness and violence; does it help believers to grow in true freedom, which is not doing what we want, but directing ourselves to the good that we create.”
Another key component of peace is education, and its priorities include recognizing the rights of women to be active in society, the right of children to go to school, and the need for “education for citizenship.” “The term ‘minorities’ creates feelings of isolation and inferiority,” he said.
“Let’s move forward in the journey,” the Pope told the world, showing that “the path of encounter is possible” and necessary, “because force, weapons and money will never color the future of peace.”
More than 1,000 participants attended the forum: Sheikh Ahmad el-Tayeb, Imam of Al-Azhar Mosque and University of Egypt; Senior representatives of the Council of Muslim Elders, an international group of Islamic scholars and experts; Iraqi Cardinal Louis Sacco, Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church; Cardinal Bechara Rai of Lebanon, Patriarch of the Maronites; Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople; Rabbi David Rosen, International Director of Interfaith Affairs, American Jewish Committee; as well as representatives of the Hindu religion, the government of Saudi Arabia, education, human rights and peace leaders.