“Humanity at times of war and at times of peace”

Submitted by munir on Mon, 05/13/2024 - 12:35

A two-day conference titled, "Humanity at Times of War and at Times of Peace' has convened in its capacity as a partnership between the Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies (RIIFS) and the Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue. This is not the first conference that has taken place between them, as there is permanent and notable cooperation between the two important centers that are concerned with dialogue among followers of religions.


The Vatican delegation was chaired by Cardinal Louis Raphaël Sako, patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans in Iraq, in his capacity as a member of the Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue which is headed by Cardinal Miguel Ángel Ayuso who was unable to attend for health reasons. The Vatican delegation also consisted of Monsignor Khaled Akasheh who has been working in the dicastery for 30 years. He is a Jordanian national and from the Latin Patriarchate. He has his own mark on this dicastery, and he currently heads the Islam Office at the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. The participants in the conference included Apostolic Nuncio to Jordan Bishop Giovanni Pietro Dal Toso, Director of the Catholic Center for Studies and Media Fr. Dr. Rif'at Bader, a number of priests and employees at the Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue, specialists in dialogue and three youths from namely Basel Shatara from Jordan, Nadin Al-Bitar from Palestine, and Luna Hazem from Iraq.


As for the Islamic delegation, which was headed by His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan Ibn Talal, it consisted of  several  personalities known for their key role in dialogue and in giving full momentum to dialogue among followers of religions, which does not serve as passing compliments, but rather as thought, cooperation, and a view of convergence and fraternity between the Islamic and Christian religions.


After the opening session, in which both heads of delegations delivered addresses, it included closed sessions characterized by calm dialogue, frankness, seriousness, as well as a theological and philosophical outlook regarding what humanity can experience in times of war. This is what was highlighted, especially in Gaza, which has impacted the entire world despite its small geographical area. The world that we know is not the same as has been seven months ago, for it is associated with the movements conducted by university students who proved that a living conscience is still present in this world.


What humanity can do in times of peace was also highlighted, as emphasis was placed on human dignity, education, and instilling  the respect others, no matter how different they are whether ethnically or religiously, as well as to sharing common views about the future. In this regard, reference was made to the conference that the United Nations intends to start next October named, “The Conference of the Future.”


Since the conference was held in conjunction with several dear occasions--such as the silver jubilee of His Majesty King Abdullah II Ibn Al Hussein, the 30th anniversary of  the founding of the Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies, the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the Holy See, the 20th anniversary of the launching of the Amman Message, the 10th anniversary of the visit of His Holiness the Pope Francis to Jordan, the 15th anniversary of the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Jordan, and the 60th anniversary of the visit  of the visit of Pope Paul VI--Fr. Bader gave a review from a book on the relations between Jordan and the Vatican at the conclusion of the sessions. It states that the relationship between Jordan and the  Vatican are based on friendship and affection, and they have already been in place before the establishment of official relations three decades ago, namely March 3, 1994 which was the time during which an announcement was made to exchange diplomatic representations.


What in impressive in this regard is that, with the end of this conference, several personalities with a prominent presence in this field have come together, but also with consideration to the outlook towards peace in the Holy Land, and in noble Jerusalem, in its capacity as the key and solution to global issues. Peace in Jerusalem will undoubtedly entrench peace throughout the Earth. Yet, people wonder: Do such conferences help in deepening affection, cohesion, and brotherhood among followers of different religions? The answer is relative, of course, yet small seeds always produce ripe fruits. The good thing is that it is happening, and this is the issue of cooperation between Jordan and the Vatican in that these conferences are reciprocated. Most importantly, we thank God that there are sowers of goodness and sowers of the good word... and the Almighty God Almighty is the One who grows it as He wills.

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Fr. Dr. Rif'at Bader