We should not be satisfied with respecting diversity, but we have rather to live it with joy. –Dr. Lana Mamkig
(abouna.org) October 30, 2015 – Al-Liqa’ Center for Religious and Heritage Studies in the Holy Land held a ceremonial meeting in Bethlehem on Friday, October 30, marking the 50th anniversary of the conciliar declaration Nostra Aetate on dialogue with other religions.
At the outset of the seminar, center director Jiryes Sa’d Khoury made an introductory address followed by a minute of silence in memory of martyrs.
In his address, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal referred to the importance of prayer in the field of dialogue. He noted that cooperation and peace among the followers of religions might be difficult, yet with prayer they become easy and possible.
Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto, the apostolic nuncio for Jerusalem and the Palestine, conveyed his experience as a believer in God in the first place and as an archbishop in the second place. He added that the Church has made tangible contributions in the field of dialogue and that it is always ready to proceed further in this direction.
The mufti of Bethlehem Governorate Sheikh Abdul Majid Ata said that the continued struggle of the Palestinian people necessitates cementing national unity between Muslims and Christians. He added that the prevailing extremism in our environs does not dissuade us from manipulating religion, according to the will of the Almighty God, as a tool for peace and coexistence among peoples.
During the session of the seminar, Director of the Catholic Center for Studies and Media Fr. Rif’at Bader presented a working paper in which he divided the half century to two parts, namely 40+10 implying that the end of the papacy of Pope John Paul II set the groundwork for the culture of dialogue in the Church, then the last ten years witnessed, with the papacy of both Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis, several potential initiatives in the field of dialogue despite the setbacks witnessed in the world particularly in the Middles East. He quoted Dr. Lana Mamkig who had said: “We should not be satisfied with respecting diversity, but we have rather to live it with joy.”
Several other working papers were presented calling for respect for others, and the need to eliminate violence in every religions so that peoples can leave behind a heritage to be proud of.