PONTIFICAL COUNCIL for INTERRELIGIOUS DIALOGUE
Address of His Eminence Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran
at the Inauguration Ceremony of the KAICIID
Hofburg, Vienna, Austria - 26 November 2012
It is my privilege to bring to this assembly the greetings of Pope Benedict XVI, as well as his prayerful best wishes for the success of the activity of this new international organization dedicated to Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue.
Ladies and gentlemen.
We are being watched. Everyone is expecting from the initiative of King Abdullah, supported by the governments of Austria and Spain, vision, honesty and credibility.
The Centre presents an opportunity for open dialogue on many issues, including those related to religious freedom, in all its forms, which are of interest to Christians, particularly those living in Muslim majority countries. Information, new initiatives, aspirations, and perhaps also failures, will be brought to our attention. It then will be the task of the Centre to verify their authenticity and to act consequently, in order that our contemporaries not be deprived of the light and proposals that religion offers for the happiness of every human being.
Believers have to work for and to support all that favours the human person in his material, moral and religious aspirations. So three attitudes are required:
1. Respect of the other in his/her specificity;
2. Mutual objective knowledge of the religious traditions and cultures of each other;
3. Collaboration in order that our pilgrimage towards the Truth be realized in freedom.
And I conclude these few words by assuring you, as Pope Benedict XVI said once: "(The Church), for her part, offers her own specific contribution. By her presence, her prayer and her various works of mercy, especially in education and health care, she wishes to give her best to everyone. She wants to be close to those who are in need, near to those who search for God...(who) is neither absent nor irrelevant, as some would have us believe, but ...is the friend of man" (Benedict XVI, Apostolic Journey to Benin, Welcome Ceremony, 18 November 2011).
I think, it is in that spirit of brotherhood and friendship that we have to work!