Pope Francis gave an address on World Communications Day, and connected this observance to the Year of Mercy. Pope Francis told, ” I would like to encourage everyone to see society not as a forum where strangers compete and try to come out on top, but above all as a home or a family, where the door is always open and where everyone feels welcome.”
On the day that Rio de Janeiro officially marked one year to go until the 2016 Olympic Games, the Rio 2016 organising committee announced the dates for the start of the Olympic Torch Relay next year.
(Vatican Radio) Father Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot, the Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, was speaking at the First Arab Thinkers Forum at the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research in Abu Dhabi. He said “to counter extremism we have to commit ourselves to a sincere dialogue.”
Muslim pilgrims pray atop Mount Mercy on the plains of Arafat Oct. 3, 2014, during the annual Hajj pilgrimage, near the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia
Dec. 8 marks the opening of the Jubilee of Mercy, a yearlong celebration of God’s compassion. Pope Francis, who has made mercy the motto of his papacy, hopes that this year will be “a true moment of encounter with the mercy of God.” One way Catholics can become better acquainted with this divine mercy is by more deliberately encountering another religion that takes God’s mercy as its central focus: Islam.
Pope Francis has made his first visit to a synagogue as pontiff, greeting Rome’s Jewish community in their house of worship in a show of interfaith friendship. Pope Francis joined a standing ovation when Holocaust survivors wearing striped scarves reminiscent of their camp uniforms were singled out for attention at the start of the ceremony.
If India were to have patron saints, then perhaps we might say that Swami Vivekananda is the patron saint – or guru – of Inter-religious encounter, or perhaps, in the modern terminology, patron saint of Interfaith Dialogue, for he travelled to the Americas and participated in the inaugural Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago in 1893. We bring you excerpts from his speech on this occasion of the Birthday of Swami Vivekananda. (Vivekananda Jayanti)
Parsi high priests have condemned both conversion and interfaith marriages. While acknowledging that several issues plague the community—not the least of which is its dwindling population—they have written, “The solution to our current issue does not lie in cutting out the very basis of Zoroastrianism and allowing widespread conversion and mixed marriages thus, diluting our Zoroastrian identity.”
Indonesia’s largest Islamic movement is organising an interfaith gathering next week, in which some 10,000 people are expected to participate. Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), is organising a mass rally in the capital, Jakarta, on Jan. 17 as a way to fight religious extremism and terrorism, as well as promote pluralism as the true foundation of Indonesian society. NU will be joined by 13 other Islamic organisations, as well as the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Indonesia (Konferensi Waligereja Indonesia, KWI), various Protestant churches and the Supreme Council for the Confucian Religion in Indonesia (Majelis Tinggi Agama Konghucu Indonesia, MATAKIN).
On Wednesday 5th January 2016, Francis launched a monthly video prayer series with an emotional call for peace between people of different faiths.
“Many think differently, feel differently, seeking God or meeting God in different ways,” the pontiff said. “We are all children of God.”