ZENIT News Agency, The World Seen from Rome  

Cardinal Bertone: Interreligious Dialogue Is Papal Priority
Opens Academic Year at Salesian University

ROME, OCT. 11, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Interreligious dialogue, especially with Muslims, is a priority for Benedict XVI, said the Vatican secretary of state.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, speaking to reporters today after the inauguration of the academic year at the Salesian University in Rome, said that "dialogue, in particular with Islam, helps us to again present God as point of reference for man's life."

Asked about the nuclear experiment in North Korea, the Salesian cardinal explained that "the Holy See is not in favor of armaments, but of disarmament and peace," and he assured that the Vatican "will favor with all means the way to address and resolve the problem, and not to accentuate it."

Cardinal Bertone acknowledged that "to be a Salesian" in his present service as secretary of state will help him to have positive human relations with all and to design projects of peace.

The rector of the Salesian institution, Father Mario Toso, commented during the Eucharistic celebration to open the academic year, presided over by Cardinal Bertone, that "for the first time a Salesian has become the first collaborator of the Successor of Peter."

Cardinal Bertone studied at the Salesian University. He later became a professor, and eventually its rector from 1989 to 1991.