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Pope Francis: avoid relativism in interreligious dialogue, work for the common good

September 22, 2014

In an address to Muslim and other non-Catholic religious leaders in Tirana, Pope Francis lamented atheism, called upon religious leaders to shun violence and work together for the common good, and rued relativism in interreligious dialogue.

“Albania sadly witnessed the violence and tragedy that can be caused by a forced exclusion of God from personal and communal life,” he said in reference to decades of Communist rule. “When, in the name of an ideology, there is an attempt to remove God from society, it ends up adoring idols, and very soon men and women lose their way, their dignity is trampled and their rights violated.”

“All those forms which present a distorted use of religion must be firmly refuted as false since they are unworthy of God or humanity,” he added. “Authentic religion is a source of peace and not of violence! No one must use the name of God to commit violence! To kill in the name of God is a grave sacrilege. To discriminate in the name of God is inhuman.”

Pope Francis added:

And then there is always this ghost of “everything is relative”: relativism. There is one clear principle: there can be no dialogue if it does not come from one's own identity. Without identity, dialogue cannot exist. It would be a phantom dialogue, a dialogue “in the air,” it does not work. Each one of us has our own religious identity, and we are faithful to it. But the Lord knows where he is carrying this history toward. Let us move towards from our own identity. Not to make believe that there is one. That does not work, it does not help. That is relativism!


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  • Posted by: jg23753479 - Sep. 22, 2014 8:01 AM ET USA

    And what will happen if all of us follow the pope's advice and tell everyone there are FUNDAMENTAL differences between Christianity and Islam? What will happen if we all begin to say to our Muslim neighbors that large parts of the Koran are FUNDAMENTALLY at odds with our most important beliefs about human dignity, about the intrinsic value of women, about the Jews, and about the legitimacy of violence? What will happen if we finally inject some Pope Benedict style reality into the conversation?