Vatican City, 19 November 2013 (VIS) – Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, gave an address at today's inaugural session of the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Centre for Inter-religious and Inter-cultural Dialogue (KAICIID). The centre is an independent organisation based in Vienna and founded by Saudi Arabia, Austria and Spain, to which the Holy See adheres in the role of Founding Observer.
The Conference, which ends today, is intended to raise awareness among younger generations to enable them to have an objective, honest and accurate image of one another. From this perspective, three related themes will be considered over the next three years. In 2013, the theme “The Image of the Other” focuses on education, with the presence in Vienna of a number of education ministers from all over the world; next year's forum will be dedicated to means of communication and finally, in 2015, the Internet will be the focus of attention.
The cardinal, in his English-language presentation, underlines that “interreligious dialogue teaches us to be careful not to present the religion of the other in a bad light in schools, universities, the mass media and, in particular, in religious discourse; not to demean the religious convictions of others, especially when they are not present; and to consider diversity – ethical, cultural, vision of the world – as a richness, not as a threat”.
He continued, “What is at the centre of our concern is the human person, man and woman. The human person is the object of the attention of political and religious leaders. Each one of us is a citizen and a believer. All of us belong to the same human family. It means that we share the same dignity, we are confronted by the same problems, we enjoy the same rights and we are called to accomplish the same duties”.
He concluded by repeating that one of the tasks of the KAICIID must be the promotion of “'the intelligence of the heart', which inspires us to respect what God is accomplishing in every human being and at the same time to respect the mystery that every human person represents. What we have to avoid absolutely is that religions engender fear, attitudes of exclusion of or superiority in people”. The Centre may therefore “become a place where we can … better know each other and share all our abilities in order to make this world more secure and enlightened, with all its inhabitants living in a spirit of respect and friendship”.