A dialogue between Catholic and Buddhist religious and social action leaders began today at the Vatican. Pope Francis stopped by the meeting, and Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran gave a welcoming address.
"We have been engaged in discussing how to collaborate together in a world of divisions.”
The Pope then made some brief remarks that were translated to English as he spoke.
"It is a visit of fraternity, of dialogue, and of friendship. And this is good. This is healthy. And in these moments, which are wounded by war and hatred, these small gestures are seeds of peace and fraternity. I thank you for this and may God bless you.”
As he went to greet everyone, Pope Francis was overwhelmed with gifts: from different kinds of artwork to books.
The 46 participants all live in America. They came from New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, Berkeley, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C.
"Your Holiness, thank you for your leadership.”
While receiving gifts, the Pope also gave blessings.
And the Pope himself received a Buddhist blessing.
"Holy Father, this is a Buddhist blessing.”
In the past, dialogues between the two religious groups focused on mutual understanding. However, in this meeting, the focus is on how they can work together to address social problems.
Pope Francis clearly enjoyed the event, as he was beaming on his way out of the meeting.
The dialogue will take place from June 23rd to 27th. It is being hosted by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.