"As critical stakeholders, religious actors should have a meaningful seat at the table"
On March 19, Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in New York, submitted a statement to the Arria-Formula meeting on Religion, Belief and Conflict, focused on the protection of members of religious and belief groups in conflict situations and on the importance of religious believers in conflict resolution. The meeting was held virtually.
Recalling Pope Francis' Apostolic Visit to Iraq, Archbishop Caccia noted how the conflict in Iraq targeted the country's religious heritage and places of worship. He stated that it has become the hallmark of ethnic cleansing and genocidal acts not only to attack a community's religion but to deface or destroy its religious sites.
He encouraged the international community not to confuse the violent extremist ideologies of those who claim to be religious with those who, in faithful accordance with the tenets of their faith, seek to promote positive change in their societies. Archbishop Caccia expressed his hope that the international community, rather than occasionally propagating warped portrayals of religious conviction, would recognize the efforts of authentic religious actors working to promote peace and reconciliation.
Archbishop Caccia finished by underlining the importance of respecting freedom of religion or belief. In order to support religious actors in their advancement of peace, leaders must protect their religious freedom.
Archbishop Caccia's remarks can be found here.
Celebrating Saint Joseph
CELEBRATING SAINT JOSEPH — On March 19, the staff and interns of the Mission broke their Lenten disciplines to celebrate the Solemnity of Saint Joseph within the special Year of Saint Joseph marking the 150th anniversary of his having been named patron of the universal Church. They also celebrated the eighth anniversary of the installation Mass of Pope Francis and the name day of intern Jose Melendez-Garcia, seen here in the photo.