The interreligious dialogue remains the most essential component in facilitating peaceful reconciliation in international relations for the wellbeing of our
world as a whole. Wednesday August 24, 2016 was a remarkable and memorable day for a number of religious traditions such as Baha’i faith, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Islam and Judaism involved in promoting peace and mutual respect for human sacredness
of life. The event was hosted by the Jewish community in the Durban Jewish Club.
In his welcoming remarks, Cardinal Nippier (Archbishop of Durban) reminded the audience about the
sole purpose of coming together by quoting the opening lines of Nostra Aetate, acknowledging the church’s effort in promoting peace, unity and love and strengthening her relationship to non-Christian religions. “We all have one ultimate origin
and end which is God Himself. The church reproves, as foreign to the mind of Christ, any discrimination against men and women or harassment of them based on race, colour, and condition of life or religion”.
The celebration was marked with Prayers from different religious traditions interceding for peace. It was humbling to hear how the interreligious dialogue has become a profound challenge to secular society; especially political leaders
should embrace the spirit of dialogue in order to bring about meaningful development, peace and security for the common good of all. In his speech the Nuncio Monsignor Peter Wells highlighted two significant issues, namely peace and reconciliation. He further
pointed out that through our religious traditions, we can choose to be bacons of peace and we can choose to become bacons and source of reconciliation and in turn become the instruments of change in the world. The Nuncio eroded to the fact that interreligious
dialogue is not about concepts and ideas, but about human life, it’s about you and me. He pointed out that Nostra Aetate was a common sense response to human suffering caused by religious believes citing an example the systematic extermination of six
million Jews by Nazi Germany during World War II. The Nuncio encouraged all the religions to make use of Nostra Aetate to engage in dialogue with other religions. He further said that, there is a need to articulate and clarify our religious teachings and cultivate
the spirit of mutual respect, love and peace. The Nuncio Peter Wells acknowledged that, there has never been a time in human history when religions are more scrutinised than today. Hence, there is a serious need for religious communities for openness
to dialogue in order to avoid suspension. There is a need to foster and recommend mutual understanding and respect which is the fruit of biblical and theological discussions as well as of fraternal dialogue. Dialogue is one of the expressions of the divinity
just like mercy and compassion. Dialogue means to encounter, it means to encounter each other in the divine, to encounter each other in the Truth which transcends us all. Hence, and its ultimate purpose is precisely the mutual respect for each other. Receptive
dialogue is essential to interreligious dialogue, the Nuncio said. We need to learn, not necessarily to teach. Mutual respect and understanding go hand in hand with each other. The more we understand each other’s belief system, the more we are able to
show respect for each other. We must look forward to the future with confidence together with the findings of science and political efforts to build a just and peaceful future of integrity and respect for sacredness of human life. Fraternal dialogue brings
about respect and trust and ultimately makes us bacons of peace and reconciliation.
Rabbi David Rosen in his speech described the slaughter of the Jews as an intrinsic evil that shouldn’t
have happened. Rabbi David Rosen said that there is nothing comparable to such dramatic transformation of the Christian Church for acknowledging that the Jews are not to be regarded as rejected people. Christianity finds its roots in Judaism. The Jews
who initially were thought to have been abandoned by God and that Christianity has replaced Judaism. This transformation was one among other essential values worthy celebrating after 50years since Nostra Aetate was promulgated. Rabbi further quoted Blessed
John Paul II, saying that, we are all sons and daughters of Abraham and are called to be a blessing to the world, but we must first be a blessing to one another. There is no broken human relationship; no matter how poisonous human, social and political relationships
might be, no relationship is beyond transformation, we can and we must be true to ourselves and be bacons of peace and transformation.
By Morgan MUSUKUMA