By Fr TOM McHUGH
If there is one word that we should never tire of repeating, it is this: dialogue. We are called to promote a culture of dialogue by every possible means and thus to rebuild the fabric of society.
The culture of dialogue entails a true apprenticeship and a discipline that enables us to view others as valid dialogue partners, to respect the foreigner, the immigrant and people from different cultures as worthy of being listened to.
Today we urgently need to engage all the members of society in building “a culture which privileges dialogue as a form of encounter” and in creating “a means for building consensus and agreement while seeking the goal of a just, responsive and inclusive society”.
Peace will be lasting in the measure that we arm our children with the weapons of dialogue, that we teach them to fight the good fight of encounter and negotiation. In this way, we will bequeath to them a culture capable of devising strategies of life, not death, and of inclusion, not exclusion.”
These words of Pope Francis are so appropriate for our time in the UK and indeed for the way that we shape our relationship with Europe and the world. As we share that journey together over the coming months and years, mutual respect, humility, truth and dialogue are the essential ingredients to be practiced in our pursuit of the common good of all.
As Christians, we need to remember that the ties which unite us are stronger than those which separate us. To quote Vatican II: “Let there be unity in what is necessary, freedom in what is doubtful and charity in everything.”
Pope Francis posted on Twitter: “May we make God’s merciful love ever more evident in our world through dialogue, mutual acceptance and fraternal co-operation.”