From the Franciscan Families
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International Franciscan Center for Dialogue
06081 Assisi PG · Italy - Piazzetta Sigismondo Spagnoli, 1
Office has the assignment to promote the unity of Christians and the dialogue
with the religions of the world. To this end, it develops the following
This Office has established the following objectives:
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> OFM Friars
The Ecumenical Vocation of the Franciscan
Commission for Ecumenical Dialogue of the General Curia has edited and published,
in Italian, La Vocazione Ecumenica del Francescano - Sussidio per la
formazione (182 pages).
(extract from the official website ofm)
> OFM Cap. Friars
Inter-Faith Dialogue in Indonesia
The Assembly on the Indonesian Island of Sumatra (Nagahuta / Pematangsiantar) encouraged the thirty-three Capuchin Delegates, and other Curia members from numerous regions of the world, to build bridges with other religions. The slogan for the gathering was: “Interreligious Dialogue as a Way to Peace”. The participants of the congress recalled the example of St. Francis of Assisi, who went beyond the time of the Crusades to visit the Sultan in order to talk and to search for peaceful solutions to the conflicts of the time. In addition, there is a letter written to the Franciscan Order: “This event became in our time a strong symbol of the interreligious Dialogue throughout the world”.
At the beginning of the assembly, which was organized by the General Office of Justice, Peace and Ecology, the participants were reminded that fundamentalism and currents of extremism were experienced in diverse countries such as Nigeria and others. It was pointed out that these fundamentalist movements characterized themselves by an aggressive intolerance. Often the abuse of religion was used in order to arrive at power which in turn they exercised over others. They used as their slogan: “God is on our side”. One of the Capuchin brothers stressed that this fundamentalist tendency became part of every religion over the centuries. To this day, both the religious and political fundamentalism is a complex issue and we must not rush to rash judgments. Indonesia, the host country for example, has a strong Muslim majority, but religion freedom prevails there. The conflicts, which have broken out in the country between different religions have predominately social and ethnic causes.
“Dialogue of Life”
Mutual respect is possible when we have the conviction that God works in all religions. We can never create an environment free from all fundamentalism. However, Capuchins can help to build a world of better cooperation among all peoples. Thus, the “dialogue of life” is very important. Good relationships with ones neighbors is a common part of the social environment. In order to create better relationships, we have to overcome mutual prejudices. The example of our father Francis of Assisi encourages us to place positive cultural and theological values of others in the foreground rather than their errors or mistakes. In this way, one can bring forth common initiatives in the social, spiritual and cultural areas and thus maintain the ecological balance. In the concept of non-violence, the Capuchins at Sumatra expressed the conviction that such a “dialogue of life” diminishes the fears some have of others. They also emphasized that in the spirit of non-violence, injustice does not have to be exchanged with injustice. They proposed instead to invite followers of other religions to religious and cultural events and to go to their events whenever invited. In addition, parishes and friaries could make space available for religious celebrations of other religions. During formation, all friars should receive a solid introduction to the other religions. Some friars should likewise be formed as specialists in inter-religious dialogue and as mediators.
(extract from the official website ofm cap.)
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