Archbishop Conti has written to all parish priests for Scottish Interfaith Week
“My wish is that the dialogue between us should help to build bridges connecting all people, in such a way that everyone can see in the other not an enemy, not a rival, but a brother or sister to be welcomed and embraced,”
(Pope Francis, March 22nd 2013)
November 22nd to November 29th is Scottish Interfaith Week. Recent events in Paris and Beirut, as well as elsewhere, show us how important it is to have good relations between faiths. Violence and conflict abroad can have repercussions here at home and religions scapegoated for the violence and actions of terrorism. Often when we are faced with unwarranted violence perpetrated in the name of God we feel powerless. One way of counteracting the narrative that religions are instruments of hate is to show them as instruments of peace and reconciliation. Interfaith relations is one way of doing this
This year we celebrated the 50th anniversary of Nostra Aetate, the Vatican II document dealing with the Church’s relationship with other faiths. This document tells us to respect the holiness and truth to be found in other religions and reminds us that any discrimination against others because of their religion is foreign to the mind of Christ. The result of Nostra Aetate was that the Church set up the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and this has been replicated in Bishops’ Conferences throughout the world including our own. Interreligious Dialogue is now part of our Church’s life and mission and we have the example of the last three Popes to show us just how important it is.
In the light of this I am asking that you take the opportunity to make your congregation aware of the importance of interreligious dialogue within the life of the Church. A way of doing this is to put a statement about Interfaith Week in your parish bulletin, to use one or more of the bidding prayers enclosed with this letter, send a letter of greeting to a local place of worship or engage in some kind of local interfaith activity. Information about this can be found in the website of Interfaith Scotland (www.interfaithscotland.org). I do hope you will take the opportunity that Interfaith Week affords to bring the importance of good interfaith relations to the attention of your parish.
With warm personal good wishes,
Yours devotedly in Christ
X Mario Conti, Chair of the Bishops’ Committee for Inter-Religious Dialogue