An excerpt from the opening speech at Oasis conference for Christian-Muslim Dialogue
Breaking with Violence
The event of Christ appears as a super-abundant response to this hope that the religious history of man expresses. It constitutes an objective overcoming of the logic of violence and as such measures the past and the future of human history (‘I came into this world to judge’ (Jn 9:39). And thus it is that the commonest objection that from that moment onwards would be made did not concern so much the goodness of the new principle introduced by Christ as its practicability, which was said to be denied, first of all, by the numerous examples of unfaithfulness of Christians themselves. Without underestimating the importance of this appeal to a consistent personal and community life, Christian tradition saw the non-practicability of this idea at a purely human level as supreme witness (‘martyrdom’) to the divine at work in the world. It thus remained convinced that, with the grace of God, it is truly possible to ‘follow in the footsteps’ (1Pt 2:21) of the Crucified Christ who rose again. We are here truly at the heart of faith.
The definitive dismissal of the logic of violence that the paschal event brought with it is also the principal contribution which we as Christian believe that we can offer today to inter-religious dialogue.This was the great insight of Assisi and the message that Pope Francis has just repeated in the Holy Land, launching from the esplanades of mosques ‘make a heartfelt plea to all people and to all communities who look to Abraham: may we respect and love one another as brothers and sisters! May we learn to understand the sufferings of others! May no one abuse the name of God through violence! May we work together for justice and peace!’.(1)
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(1) Pope Francis, Visit to the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, 26 April 2014.