LONDON -- A great irony of Pope Benedict XVI’s
approach to relations with other religions is that this theologian-pope has to some extent dethroned theology, in favor of what he calls “inter-cultural” dialogue. By that, he means focusing on social, cultural and political concerns where the religions agree, rather than on matters of doctrine where they don’t.
That theme surfaced again this morning, as Benedict XVI met a delegation of leaders of other religions gathered at St. Mary’s University in the Twickenham neighborhood of London, where the pope had earlier participated in an assembly of Catholic educators and schoolchildren.
Despite their differences, Benedict said, the various religions witness to the spiritual side of human life, which can inspire what he called “noble and generous action, to the benefit of the entire human family.”
In terms of specifics, Benedict pointed to “concrete forms of collaboration” such as “promoting integral human development [and] working for peace, justice and the stewardship of creation.” On that last point, Benedict argued that religious convictions can help humanity not “disfigure the beauty of creation by exploiting it for selfish purposes.”