A Vatican cardinal has urged British Catholics to make friends with people of other faiths.
Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council of Inter-religious Dialogue, said in a pluralistic society Catholics should be “consciously cultivating friendly relationships” with people of different religions.
The cardinal was speaking during vespers at St Chad’s Cathedral in Birmingham while on a five-day trip to England. During his trip he met Sikhs, Hindus and Jains.
Cardinal Tauran said: “Our society today is increasingly becoming a multi-religious one. Think of the demography of this Archdiocese of Birmingham, what it was some years ago and what it is today.
“Think of the place where you live. Years ago, perhaps the people living next door were those who shared your faith, your culture. But it is not so any more. The families that live next to that of yours either ‘side by side’ or ‘face to face’ are ones that probably belong to other faiths. A good number of your colleagues in the schools, colleges where you learn or teach, the Government or the private offices or the factories, firms that you work in are those who profess a faith that is different than that of yours.
“In this pluralistic situation, we have no other option than consciously cultivating friendly relationships with all of them based on mutual respect and understanding that eventually could lead to mutual collaboration for the common good, for peace and harmony towards the development of the society. This is all what interreligious dialogue is about: Being rooted in our own faith, cultivating, despite differences, harmonious relationships among believers of diverse religions and collaborating with them for the good of humanity with shared values and convictions.”