In the margin: interreligious dialogue and colonization

Source: FSSPX News


The pope met with a dozen representatives of Christian denominations and other religions at the Monastery of Saint Benedict in São Paul, on May 10, around midday. Fr. Federico Lombardi, director of the Press Office of the Vatican, confided that at the end of this “very simple” meeting, sheik Armando Hussein Saleh, from the Muslim community of the city, “who was wearing some sort of white cape, gave it to the pope as a token of fraternity and friendship.” As for Rabbi Henry Sobel, he revealed to I.Media agency that he asked the pope’s permission to bless him. After having received the latter’s consent, the rabbi recited a brief prayer in Hebrew. During the meeting, Benedict XVI said “some very brief words of thanks”, without any official address.

In the evening of May 10, as he was about to change cars to go to the “Pacaembu” Stadium of São Paulo, where the young Brazilians were waiting for him, the pope stopped at the Memorial of Latin America. The city’s archbishop, Odilo Pedro Scherer, explained to him the meaning of the monument which can be seen there, and which represents an immense hand outstretched to the sky and bearing in its palm a blood-red map of Latin America. This monument is considered as the symbol of the “brutal colonization” of the continent and of its desire for autonomy. It is the work of the Brazilian militant communist architect Oscar Niemeyer, now 99 years old.

The pope listened attentively to the explanations given by the archbishop and blessed the monument twice, from a distance. – The Memorial da América Latina is a cultural center made up of several buildings and monuments conceived by Oscar Niemeyer, and inaugurated in 1998. Dedicated to the cultural integration of the Latin American peoples, it includes a Pavilion of Creativity where pieces of popular art from the countries of Latin America are displayed, and there are also a library, auditoriums, and exposition halls.