On November 20, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the UN, gave an intervention during the Eighth Global Forum of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, being held at UN headquarters in New York and dedicated to the theme, “Commit2Dialogue: Partnerships for Prevention and Sustaining Peace.”
In his remarks, Archbishop Auza said that intercultural and interreligious partnerships and dialogue are more important now than ever to prevent not merely clashes of civilizations but clashes about what even constitutes civilization. Preconditions for such a partnership among cultures and religions include mutual respect and a shared conviction about religion as a positive force in the formation of civilization. Attempts to suppress religious freedom or relegate religion to a private subculture on the part of some governments and societies are misguided, he said, while he called on religious believers to join voices in calling for peace and respect for the dignity of every person, regardless of religious identity. He cited the interreligious meetings in Assisi as a forum for such interreligious dialogue and explained how Catholic institutions and movements, like Focolare, Communion and Liberation and the Sant’Egidio Community, are educating and forming people to live, work and pray for peace and unity.
The statement can be found here.