Home Catholic Church & Asia Pope Francis encourages Mongolian religious leaders to pursue dialogue, harmony 

Pope Francis encourages Mongolian religious leaders to pursue dialogue, harmony 

On the fourth day of his Apostolic journey to Mongolia, Pope Francis underscored the potential for religious traditions to contribute to societal harmony and peace through dialogue and encounter.

“The fact that we are meeting together in one place already sends a message: it shows that the religious traditions, for all their distinctiveness and diversity, have impressive potential for the benefit of society as a whole,” the pope said during his meeting with religious leaders on Sunday.

The pontiff met with 12 religious leaders and representatives of Shintoism, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Shamanism, and other Christian denominations in the performing arts center on the Bogd Khan Uu mountain overlooking Mongolia’s capital city.

He said that if world leaders were to choose the path of encounter and dialogue with others, “it would be a decisive contribution to ending the conflicts continuing to afflict so many of the world’s peoples”.

He drew attention to the symbolic significance of the Mongolian ger, a traditional circular dwelling.

“Together with its human space, the ger also expresses an essential openness to the divine. This spiritual dimension is represented by its overhead opening, which admits a beam of light that makes the interior, as it were, a great sundial marking, through an interplay of light and shadow, the hours of day and night,” he said.

He pointed out the shared goal of followers of different religions to promote a reconciled and prosperous humanity, symbolized by harmony, togetherness, and openness. 

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He said that this should inspire a commitment to justice and peace grounded in humanity’s relationship with the divine.

“In this sense, dear brothers and sisters, we share a great responsibility, especially in this period of history, for we are called to testify to the teachings we profess by the way we act; we must not contradict them and thus become a cause of scandal,” he said. 

The pope emphasized the crucial importance of promoting justice and peace and warned against mixing “of religious beliefs and violence, of holiness and oppression, of religious traditions and sectarianism”.

He acknowledged the historical suffering of various religious communities, including the Buddhist community in Mongolia, and urged that this past suffering should guide efforts to transform darkness into light, senseless violence into wisdom, and devastating evil into constructive goodness.

The Pope also highlighted the importance of dialogue among different religious traditions within a pluralistic society like Mongolia. 

He assured that the Catholic Church is committed to ecumenical, interreligious, and cultural dialogue, respecting the conscience of others and seeking the greater good of all.

“We can discover in our common humanity, blessed by heaven, the key to our journey on this earth. We share a common origin that confers equal dignity on everyone and a shared path that we can only travel alongside one another, as we dwell under the one sky that surrounds and illumines us,” he said. 

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