Vatican News links UN day celebrating religious pluralism to influence of Pope Francis
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January 21, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) –Shortly before Christmas, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution declaring February 4th as the International Day of Human Fraternity, with immediate effect. In a fortnight, the 193 members of the UN; as well as “relevant organizations of the United Nations system, other international organizations and civil society, including non-governmental organizations and the private sector,” will be invited to observe the day “in a manner that each considers most appropriate.”
Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of the Al-Azhar University of Cairo are said to have supported the initiative with a message to the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres (former leader of the Socialist International).
The Resolution was introduced by the United Arab Emirates, with the support of Bahrain, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Morocco and Saudi Arabia, all Islamic or predominantly Muslim countries, as well as Venezuela, whose socialist president Nicolas Maduro is the continuator of chavismo – the left-wing internationalism of his predecessor, Hugo Chavez.
The official news agency of the Holy See, Vatican News, welcomed the UN initiative with a story tagged “interreligious dialogue” and “Fratelli tutti” on Christmas Eve, which perhaps explains that the news got scant media attention. But the context given by Vatican News remains topical: the new International Day, it said, “comes as the result of Christian-Muslim cooperation to promote peace, harmony and intercultural dialogue in the world.”
The event was clearly linked to the Abu Dhabi Declaration which proclaims that “pluralism and the diversity of religions (…) are willed by God in His wisdom.” Vatican News commended the UN initiative in these terms: “Fratelli tutti, the recent encyclical of Pope Francis on fraternity and social friendship, as well as the ‘Document on Human Fraternity,’ signed by him and the grand imam of Al Azhar last year, have found a strong echo in the halls and corridors of the United Nations.”
The link was indeed echoed by the UN in choosing the 4th of February as the International Day for Human Fraternity: it was the day the Abu Dhabu Document was signed by Pope Francis and Ahmed al-Tayyib.
The L-52 Resolution makes explicit reference to the text, quoting “the meeting between Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmad al-Tayyib, on 4 February 2019 in Abu Dhabi, which resulted in the signing of the document entitled ‘Human fraternity for world peace and living together’.”
In the name of the “culture of peace,’ the Resolution’s preamble upheld “non-violence” as opposed to “religious hatred,” expressing “deep concern” about acts that “undermine the spirit of tolerance and respect for diversity, especially at a time when the world confronts the unprecedented crisis caused by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, which requires a global response based on unity, solidarity and renewed multilateral cooperation.”
Clearly, “Human Fraternity” is being touted in favor of supranational solutions to the COVID-19 crisis, with the usual campaigning for “sustainable development” that all member states must “promote” according to article 3 of the Resolution.
Religious relativism is part and parcel of the text, as its preamble recalls: it glorifies “respect for diversity” and “inclusion,” adding that “tolerance, pluralistic tradition, mutual respect and the diversity of religions and beliefs promote human fraternity.”
This amounts to stating that “diversity of religions” is a requisite for human fraternity to exist. It is the opposite of Christian fraternity that acknowledges that human beings truly become brothers when they are given the grace of becoming children of God through baptism, as well as the grace of the one, true faith.
But this belief that you are a believer of the one, true faith is precisely what the United Nations ideology has been fighting for decades. This is made especially clear in large numbers of UNESCO documents that present traditional religions with their will to be recognized as true as the reason for human conflict, dissensions and wars. Eradicating this form of religion has long been a dream of the secularist ideology, and the UN has long promoted “restructured” forms of religion that are willing to live alongside each other as equally acceptable variants of human religiosity, as the only possible condition for a certain kind of peace. One senses the masonic rejection of dogma and undisputable God-given truth and laws in this system.
That there has been a push for this even within the Catholic Church is difficult to deny, although efforts were made by Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI to counter this relativism: the world encounters of many religions in Assisi were counterbalanced by doctrinal texts such as Veritatis Splendor. The Abu Dhabi Document was an unprecedentedly candid affirmation of this relativism, however.
Interestingly, a similar trend has appeared in Islam – albeit in a more blotchy pattern, for lack of a single hierarchy with plainly attributed responsibilities. But the efforts of president Al-Sissi in Egypt, together with the Al-Azhar Sunnite University of Cairo of which Al-Tayyib is the beacon, supported by very many Islamic countries, have been pushing in the same direction, proclaiming that a modernized Islam can and should live peacefully alongside other religions whose value they would recognize.
This is of course surprising when compared with the Koran’s aggressive assertion of Islam’s superiority over the “infidels” and the duty of all Muslims to wage Holy War, even if the latter is now presented as “Holy War” against one’s own shortcomings. It should be borne in mind that “takiyya” is part of Islam: the dissimulation or denial of religious beliefs insofar as such action can preserve the believer from persecution or promote the Islamic cause facing members of other faiths. It is reminiscent of the praxis of the communists, who may lie and commit crimes for the good of the Party and the advancement of the cause, because in their practical system there is no absolute good and all means are justified that can obtain the desired end.
So it should come as no surprise that the United Arab Emirates and other Islamic countries should have presented a text that touts “pluralism.” On the one hand, it serves the goals of globalism that require religious differences to fade in favor of the common beliefs and thought system, as well as the common goals of “sustainable development” that have been turned into the supreme good that should guide all political action. On the other, it is a sign that at least part of the Islamic world wants to be seen as a moral leader that has bought into the “sustainable world” project of the UN.
Talking of pluralism, both the German and the US delegations raised objections about the wording of Resolution L-52. The representative of Germany, “speaking on behalf of the European Union,” the UN’s press release tells us, “regretted to note that preambular paragraph 9 refers to pluralistic tradition.” It is the phrase that says: “Acknowledging that tolerance, pluralistic tradition, mutual respect and the diversity of religions and beliefs promote human fraternity…”
“The representative of the United States, noting the possible confusion surrounding the reference to pluralistic traditions in preambular paragraph 9, wondered with concern about which traditions the paragraph refers to. The United States prefers the concept of religious pluralism,” added the UN press document.
Whatever this means, it did not prevent the delegations from unanimously signifying their “consensus” with the Resolution. Like the majority of such texts, L-52 was adopted without a vote, and the ideology behind the Abu Dhabi document marked a further victory.
Vatican News largely echoed the hopes of the Resolution, noting that the UN Assembly “recognized the valuable contribution of people of all religions or beliefs to humanity and the contribution that dialogue among all religious groups can make towards improved awareness and understanding of the common values shared by all humankind.”
The Vatican website also underscored the role played by Judge Mohamed Mahmoud Abdel Salam, the former councilor of the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, secretary-general of the Higher Committee for Human Fraternity. According to Vatican News, it was Salam who “spearheaded the UN move.”
Salam went on record as saying that he regarded the adoption of the International Day of Human Fraternity as “a great historic achievement in the history of humanity.”
Salam, the first ever Muslim to have presented a papal encyclical – Fratelli tutti– at the Vatican, told the Jesuit magazine America that the new International Day “signifies the international acknowledgement of the joint efforts of the Grand Imam of Al Azhar and Pope Francis in fostering interfaith and intercultural dialogue.”
According to Vatican News, members of the Higher Committee, “including Cardinal Ayuso Guixot, the president of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, and Salam, met UN Secretary-General António Guterres on 4 December 2019, at the UN headquarters.”
“They presented the UN chief with a message from the Pope and the Grand Imam, proposing that 4 February be declared the World Day of Human Fraternity. The proposal was forwarded to the Assembly by the representative of the UAE,” Vatican News added.
On January 13th, the same news site reported on “Open Doors’” latest “World Watch List” that classifies the “top 50 countries where Christians are most persecuted for their faith,” at a time when an average of “13 Christians are killed every day in the world because of their faith.”
The Protestant NGO deplored the fact that more than 340 million Christians “suffer high levels of persecution and discrimination for their faith.”
Its list includes a majority of Islamic nations. Several initial presenters of the Resolution are present: Egypt, Burkina Faso, Morocco and Saudi Arabia. The United Arab Emirates are among the 24 following countries that fall “just outside the top 50,” but are still listed as persecuting Christians.
In the words of the United Arab Emirates representative presenting Resolution L-52, “the international community is deeply concerned that religious hatred is increasing in the face of the COVID‑19 crisis.”
“Open Doors” put this a little differently, as Vatican News reported: “Covid-19, the report claims, acted as a catalyst for religious persecution through relief discrimination, forced conversions, and as justification for increasing surveillance and censorship.” They’re right. Of Christians.