May 2, 2015, 9:44 p.m. – ‘LOVE’ is needed to foster
acceptance and respect among different religious denominations, the head of the
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said during the
International Conference on Interreligious Dialogue held at the Buenaventura Garcia
Paredes, O.P. Building Thursday.

CBCP President and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates
Villegas told religious leaders and advocates of interreligious dialogue that
God might be known in different names and different understandings, but love
could bridge the gap among the different religions.

“It should not matter as much that we call him by different
names and [if] the narratives that are sacred to us may be different.  We will rejoice with them and be enriched by
them,” Villegas said in his keynote address. “We must recognize that when we
can live in love, dialogue in love, pray in love and make room for each other
in love, there God’s face is resplendent.”

Villegas also urged the faithful to be open to dialogue and
imitate Pope Francis, who encourages people to “break bread with different men
and women as brothers and sisters.”

“Pope Francis won the admiration of all, but it will not do
for us merely to look up at him, and applaud. It is not enough to beam at news
of Pope Francis breaking barriers,” Villegas said.

Decisions and attitudes of leaders of different faiths
sometimes leads to misunderstandings between religions and even war, said
Rasoul Rasoulipour, head of the Shahid Motahari University Department of

“Due to the behavior of certain leaders, religions that used
to be [considered] as the messengers of peace, friendship, morality and
tranquility have become in many parts of the world the cause for bloody and
wild feuds,” said Rasoulipour in his speech during the first day of the conference.

Despite rain, thousands flock to La Naval

Julkipli Wadi, dean of the Institute of Islamic Studies at
the University of the Philippines, said media, which play a powerful role in
representing and depicting religions, should carefully study their reports
especially in sensitive matters like religion, to avoid misrepresenting and
altering information delivered to the public.

The two-day conference, which had the theme “Approach of
Islam and Christianity Towards Religious Extremism and Violence,” was jointly
organized by the Institute of Religion, CBCP—Episcopal Commission on
Interreligious Dialogue, and the Iranian embassy. Angeli Mae S. Cantillana and
Danielle Ann F. Gabriel


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