Today on Novena we continue our series of some quotes from the new cardinals Pope Francis announced on 1 September.

Last week we looked at some wisdom from Jean-Claude Höllerich, Archbishop of Luxembourg and President of COMECE, the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union.

Today it’s the turn of Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, the President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

1. All we need is “a little more love”

We’ve complicated things too much. A little more fraternity, a little more love, a little more openness to others to build all of us together from our differences… That’s all.

What the Pope is asking for and what the world needs are really very simple things, but such a widespread climate of suspicion and confrontation has been created that sometimes all this common sense can seem almost extraordinary.

2. “Together religions can do great things”

We have to build bridges. We must welcome the values that exist in the different religious traditions so that, from there, we can build peace [and] get close to those most in need…

Together we can do great things… the problem is not religions; religions are part of the solution to the big problems that exist today in the world.

3. What’s the point of interfaith dialogue?

We’re not only believers, but also citizens… In respectful collaboration with political authorities and other social agents, without overstepping our bounds, we want to work for a more inclusive society, in which the rights of all are guaranteed.

4. It’s not about negotiating

Interreligiousness and interculturality are today a priority for governments, religious groups, companies… Everyone feels it. But dialogue is not a negotiation, and neither is interfaith dialogue.

If I conceive it as a do ut des [Latin: “I give that you might give” – ed.], it becomes a negotiation. It would be enough for us to sit around a table, make a list of topics, solve the problems, sign the documents, shake hands and say goodbye.

Dialogue is not that: it’s an attitude of life that puts me in the position of wanting to become a fellow traveller of each human being on his way to the truth…

We must know how to overcome our fears and begin our approach to others from our own identity.

5. Our common ground

I realised what it means to be Sevillian and Spanish when I went abroad.

The fear that exists today to open up to the other does nothing but close ourselves off and build walls.

We must open paths to others, because we do not lose our identity but reinforce it and discover that we are different; we’ll find ourselves on a single common ground: being human.

6. “Hiding in bell jars won’t get us anywhere”

We must not build walls, but open avenues and bridges through a culture of dialogue and a deep and true knowledge of who we are, in order to remember together to discard and separate everything that is the result of manipulation, hoaxes and other things that do nothing but divide communities.

We must overcome pessimism to create a more human, more fraternal world.

If we look at history, we can see that the most simplistic way out – hiding in bell jars to protect ourselves from others – doesn’t lead anywhere.

The problems are there, but we have to propose that international law be applied so that people can live in peace, security and justice.

Fear is the greatest enemy of dialogue and today there is a lot of fear. There is a lot of rejection of the other: we have to work and educate.

7. “We’re all so social, but we socialise so little”

Coexistence is essential for the future of humanity. That future needs the understanding of all religious, cultural and social traditions. People of different religious traditions have to understand each other.

We have to keep together, together on the common platform that is humanity: in the human adventure of knowing how to collaborate, preserving each one’s identity and differences.

The world that we’ve had the luck to find ourselves in is hurting: it requires the balm of mercy and reconciliation, as Pope Francis tells us.

We’re all called to dedication and service to the Holy Father, from the doorman to the most senior cardinal. We must follow the pastoral path that the Pope tells us.

The Pope has a lot of moral authority beyond the Catholic community; he has it over all human beings.

[The Pope] constantly invites us to repair a world that lives at risk of separation, at a distance. He invites us to move away from the culture of insults…

We’re all so social online, but in reality we socialise very little…

8. Interfaith dialogue, a constant since Vatican II

Since the Second Vatican Council, all the Popes have worked for the coexistence between the different religious traditions, promoting relations of friendship and respect.

Paul VI, John Paul II, Benedict XVI… All have avoided relativism and have encouraged dialogue, charity, union, missionary work and openness with people of other confessions.

Pope Francis did this too last February in Abu Dhabi, when he met with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, with whom he signed a document in which they urged all humanity to promote fraternity, peace and coexistence.

Quotes 1-3 from Alfa y Omega; 4-6 from Vida Nueva; 7-8 from Diario de Sevilla

Next on Novena:

Eight quotes to know and share from Cardinal-elect Jean-Claude Höllerich


PhD in ancient Jewish/Christian history and philosophy. University ethics lecturer with 4 years' experience in religion journalism.