Vatican Cardinal: Sometimes Dialogue Is Impossible

by Miles Swigart  •  •  October 30, 2015   

According to the Vatican's Secretary of State, dialogue is not likely with fundamentalists

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ROME ( - Interreligious dialogue is important, but it is likely not possible with fundamentalist groups, says a Vatican official.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican's Secretary of State, was addressing participants of a conference in Rome yesterday commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Vatican II document Nostra Aetate, which deals with relations with non-Catholic religions, particularly Jews and Muslims.

In an interview afterwards, when asked if dialogue with fundamentalist religious groups can be accomplished, Cdl. Parolin answered, "I don't think it's possible."

"Dialogue is done with the small talk (between those) who enter into a relationship, no? So interventions here are not at all reasonable with those who refuse to dialogue."

"So I don't think that it's possible to dialogue with fundamentalists," he reasoned. "One can offer to dialogue, but I don't see many opportunities of establishing a dialogue."

The event, sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and the Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, gathers representatives of religions from all over the world and serves as an opportunity for interreligious dialogue.

Chaldean Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil also shared this point of view, especially concerning the Islamic State, otherwise known as ISIS.

Erbil is the capital of the Kurdistan Region, fewer than 55 miles away from Mosul. Erbil has experienced the Islamic State's cruelty firsthand, as the Islamic State took over Mosul and its neighboring regions last summer. It is estimated that 13,500 families fled the region in response.

Archbishop Warda speaks from experience, then, when he said at the Chaldean Synod of Bishops in Rome, which concluded Wednesday, that as far as dialogue with fundamentalists goes, "If you mean ISIS then no," it's not possible because "they would not imagine themselves in any position to argue."

Cardinal Parolin, however, was not speaking directly about the Islamic State, though it can be inferred he had it in mind. According to Cdl. Parolin, all religions must strive to build peace, and while it is "a great responsibility" for all to participate in, it must come from the heart.

"The source of peace comes from the heart of man. Peace comes from a peaceful heart, peace with God, peace with others, peace with oneself."

In conclusion, peace is possible "to the extent that there are people disposed to building peace."

The Holy Father's universal prayer intentions for November are "[t]hat we may be open to personal encounter and dialogue with all, even those whose convictions differ from our own."


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