We cannot engage in real dialogue unless we are conscious of our own identity… Nor can there be authentic dialogue unless we are capable of opening our minds and hearts, in empathy and sincere receptivity, to those with whom we speak.
The Path of Dialogue
Topic: Interfaith Pathways
We cannot engage in real dialogue unless we are conscious of our own identity. We can’t dialogue, we can’t start dialoguing from nothing, from zero, from a foggy sense of who we are. Nor can there be authentic dialogue unless we are capable of opening our minds and hearts, in empathy and sincere receptivity, to those with whom we speak. In other words, an attentiveness in which the Holy Spirit is our guide.
Pope Francis, born Jorge Mario Bergoglio on 17 December 1936, is the head of the Catholic Church, the bishop of Rome, and the sovereign of the Vatican City State. He has the distinction of being the first pope to be a member of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), and he is the first from the Americas and the Southern Hemisphere. Additionally, he is the first pope born or raised outside Europe since the 8th-century papacy of Syrian pope Gregory III.
Before becoming Pope, Francis led a significant career within the Church, known for his humility, emphasis on God's mercy, concern for the poor, and commitment to interfaith dialogue. His papacy has been marked by a shift towards more open and compassionate stances on social issues such as immigration, the environment, and the importance of inclusivity within the Church.
Pope Francis continues to be a transformative figure in the Catholic Church, encouraging dialogue, compassion, and a renewed focus on social justice. His groundbreaking leadership as the first Jesuit pope and his connections to various firsts in the history of the Papacy reflect a commitment to bridging gaps and fostering understanding across different cultures and traditions. His teachings and actions resonate with millions around the world, making him one of the most influential religious leaders of our time.
Pope Francis. “Meeting with the Asian Bishops at the Shrine of Haemi (Biography, Francis, 17 August 2014).” [Pope Francis, 2014b:19].
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