On 16th April 2022, Dieudonné Cardinal Nzapalainga, Spiritan, was invited by the National Episcopal Conference of Congo to an international colloquium marking the 65th anniversary of the Catholic University of Congo (UCC), in which he received the Golden Medal of Honour. Cardinal Nzapalainga who is the Archbishop of Bangui, Central Africa Republic (CAR) is well known, among others, for being outspoken and acting on the importance of interreligious dialogue in peace building.
Delivering the inaugural lecture on 26th April, Cardinal Nzapalainga stressed that many conflicts facing some countries today can be resolved through interreligious dialogue: “Interreligious dialogue is an indispensable path to peace building in the world today and deserves to be considered an absolute necessity and the deepest aspiration of the human race.”
In his presentation titled, “Interreligious Dialogue at the Service of Peace for a New Humanism”, the Cardinal added that with the health crisis and the war in Ukraine and the various armed conflicts in several African countries, “the call for the construction of a school of peace is of vital importance.”
To this end, Cardinal Nzapalainga said, “It is necessary and inevitable to open up and dialogue with other religions.”
Cardinal Nzapalainga added, “Religions must be present in all initiatives that can contribute to the advent of a lasting peace, for all religions have a mission to work for peace.”
“It is therefore impossible to talk about peace if one is not yet ready to enter into a relationship with people who do not share my religion,” he further added.
He went on to highlight the importance of hospitality, which he described as “the welcome and recognition of the other in his or her difference without this difference being the cause of disputes.”
We congratulate our Confrere, Cardinal Nzapalainga for his remarkable commitment to our Spiritan ministry in interreligious dialogue and peace building.
“We try in dialogue to co-operate honestly with the leaders and the faithful of other religions as well as with those who do not believe in God. We put our trust in the Holy Spirit, leading both us and them “to the complete truth” (Jn 16,13). [SRL 16.3].
“Each circumscription and each Spiritan carries the concern for interreligious dialogue. Let commitment for interreligious dialogue be integrated into the strategic plan of the circumscription, according to the reality and concrete challenges of each circumscription.” [Decisions of the General Chapter of Bagamoyo II].