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Welcome back, Parliament of the World’s Religions

July 19, 2023
Originally published by Chicago Catholic on July 19 by Cardinal Blase Cupich

With great joy, I welcome the thousands of people representing more than 80 nations who will gather in Chicago Aug. 13-18 for the Parliament of the World’s Religions. My first experience with the parliament came when I traveled to Toronto to deliver a plenary address at the 2018 convening. There I saw firsthand the diversity and vitality found at this largest worldwide gathering dedicated to cultivating harmony among the world’s religious and spiritual communities.

This year’s theme, “A Call to Conscience: Defending Freedom and Human Rights,” urges participants defend the freedom and human rights of all, especially those most in need. Rooted in the diverse beliefs and practices found among the world’s religious traditions and spiritual communities, attendees will explore ways to bring about a more just, peaceful and sustainable world. Knowing it is vital that the Catholic Church remain involved in these principled conversations for the good of our community and world, I welcome the opportunity to take part in these discussions as part of a plenary session at the invitation of the parliament leadership.

In his 2020 encyclical, “Fratelli tutti,” Pope Francis teaches that “the different religions, based on their respect for each human person as a creature called to be a child of God, contribute significantly to building fraternity and defending justice in society. Dialogue between the followers of different religions does not take place simply for the sake of diplomacy, consideration, or tolerance. In the words of the Bishops of India, ‘The goal of dialogue is to establish friendship, peace and harmony, and to share spiritual and moral values and experiences in a spirit of truth and love’” (271).

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