Tuesday 23 September 2014
Words of His Eminence Pietro Cardinal Parolin at the 2014 Annual Awards Dinner of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation
Rabbi Arthur Schneier, President of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, His Excellency Enrique Peña Nieto, President of Mexico, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen: For almost fifty years now, the Appeal of Conscience Foundation has worked unceasingly to promote peace and mutual understanding, in the firm belief that freedom, democracy and human rights are fundamental values that give nations of the world their best hope for peace, security and shared prosperity. A man, since his young age, has always held this conviction close to his heart. That man is no other than Rabbi Arthur Schneier. Rabbi Schneier, I bring you the prayerful best wishes of His Holiness Pope Francis, who fully shares your conviction that a crime committed in the name of religion is the greatest crime against religion itself. I am also pleased to convey to all of you, here present this evening, in particular, to the Honorees, the greetings of His Holiness the Pope, and his appreciation for all those who work to protect and promote fundamental human freedoms, including religious freedom. We are, indeed, grateful to you, Rabbi Schneier, for giving us this opportunity to get together, in order to honor people who have eminently put into practice the main objective of the Foundation, people like His Excellency Mr. Enrique Peña Nieto, who is honored with the 2014 “World Statesman Award”, and like Ms. Mary Barra and Mr. Robert Iger, who are honored with the “Appeal of Conscience Award”. I have pleasure in expressing my most sincere congratulations to our Awardees. The Holy See strives to enhance mutual understanding among religions and cultures across the globe. Reciprocal knowledge dispels dangerous stereotypes, paving the way to mutual respect and true friendship. Indeed, distrust, the fear of the other and the feeling of being threatened by the other are due more to mutual ignorance than to mutual knowledge. Last May 26, on the occasion of his visit in Jerusalem to His Excellency Mr. Shimon Peres, then President of Israel, the Holy Father had this to say: “Peacemaking demands first and foremost respect for the dignity and freedom of every human person. This shared conviction enables us resolutely to pursue peaceful solutions to every controversy and conflict...Here I renew my plea that all parties avoid initiatives and actions which contradict their stated determination to reach a true agreement and that they tirelessly work for peace, with decisiveness and tenacity”. Rabbi Schneier, I know that the Appeal of Conscience Foundation shares this conviction. Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, your presence here tonight demonstrates that you, too, share this conviction: this conviction that requires of us to work tirelessly for justice and peace for all, with decisiveness and tenacity. As members of one human family, we share the ultimate goal of a reconciled world, a world in which all without exception enjoy that priceless common good that is peace. Thank you and Good evening!