Working together against social hardship

Working together against social hardship

The social situation is also tense in his home country. Against this backdrop, Francis has called on religious communities in Argentina to work together. There is no alternative to dialogue, the pope stressed.

The world expects believers, as well as other people of good will, to provide common responses to needs "such as war, hunger, the misery that affects millions, the environmental crisis, violence, corruption and moral decay, the crisis of the family, the economy and, above all, the lack of hope," Francis said Monday at the Vatican.

The pope made the remarks to participants at a meeting of the Argentine Institute for Interreligious Dialogue. Francis had founded the institution during his time as archbishop of Buenos Aires.

No alternative to dialogue between religions

He emphatically called on the religions for ecological and humanitarian commitment. "The world is looking at us, believers, to see how we stand by the common home and human rights," the pope said. Their cooperation must go beyond a "political pact"; it transcends the political but is "political insofar as it is human," the pope said.

There is no alternative to dialogue among religions: "Either we build the future together or there will be no future," Francis said. Faith communities have an urgent task to build bridges between peoples and cultures, he said. It is not a matter of changing the identity of the respective religion; rather, they are "on the way with their own identity," says the Pope.

In Argentina's presidential election at the end of October, incumbent Mauricio Macri was defeated by center-left politician Alberto Fernandez. The result is seen as a rebuff to Macri's austerity policies in a tough economic crisis. Argentina suffers from high public debt and severe inflation. One third of Argentines are affected by poverty.

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