Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Pope Francis' Press Conference (2)

Please see this post for my earlier comments about Pope Francis' press conference.

A third point has occurred to me as being worthy of significant comment. It is Pope Francis' explanation of his reasons for wishing to visit Albania. The Pope gave two reasons, two reasons which have a certain contrast to them.

The first is that Albania has been able to establish a government reflecting an inter-religious harmony: Albania represents an example to others of the possibilities of inter-religious dialogue:
First, because they have been able to form a government  – just think of the Balkans, they have been able to form a government of national unity with Muslims, Orthodox and Catholics, with an interreligious council that helps a lot and is balanced.  This is good, and harmonious.  The presence of the Pope wishes to say to all the peoples (of the world) that it’s possible to work together. I felt it as a real help to that noble people.
The second is Albania's history of being a state in which atheism, at a practical level, was formerly part of the country's constitutional arrangement.
... if we think about the history of Albania, in terms of religion it was the only country in the communist world to have in its constitution practical atheism. So if you went to mass it was against the constitution. And then, one of the ministers told me that 1820 churches were destroyed, both Orthodox and Catholic, at that time. Then other churches were transformed into theatres, cinemas, dance halls. So I just felt that I had to go. 
The presence of the Pope also wishes to give a testimony in favour of the part that should be played by religion in public life.

Interesting, eh? 

No comments: