News ID: 58064
Published: 0353 GMT December 24, 2014

Proximity among religions need face-to-face talks: Card. McCarrick

Proximity among religions need face-to-face talks: Card. McCarrick

The Most Reverend Theodore E. McCarrick, the archbishop of Newark, New Jersey believes that if there must be unity among religions, there must be face-to-face talks among them.

The archbishop made the statement in an exclusive interview with 'Tehran Times', published Wednesday, IRNA reported.

When questioned by the daily on his opinion on how to bridge the gap between world religions so that we would no longer witness the atrocities committed by certain terrorist groups like ISIL under the guise of religion, Cardinal McCarrick said:

“By meetings just like this one [WAVE], by getting people face to face, looking at the truth and the reality and understanding how we have to start talking together, talking to each other not talking with each other without anybody listening, and getting to understand each other. Once we do that, we appreciate each other and when we appreciate each other then we can all work with each other. It is a long process but it begins by people talking to each other.”

He added, “Good people, wise people must get together and figure out how to deal with this very worrisome problem of ISIS.”

In a separate talk with Right Reverend John Bryson Chane on his views on the outcome of the WAVE meeting, Chane told the daily: 'The proof is in the pudding. In other words, what comes out of this first conference, WAVE, in terms of plan of action is crucial. I have been involved in so many of these [gatherings] where we’ve had exceptional scholars and clerics and…, non-clerical persons, non-ordained persons and we worked really hard and we came away with good memories.

'This conference for me is an unbelievably gifted experience because it brings diplomats, foreign ministers, clerics from every tradition and even scholars from every tradition to one place for two days for conversation.

'The presentation opening yesterday (December 9) with Iranian President Rouhani and also Foreign Minister Zarif was very important.

'Now, will it get disseminated to what I call the West? Will it get disseminated to this region? That is going to be up to the IPIS, and the media to do that.

'Unfortunately, the media do not really cover the news when they are not sensational about it. The media where I come from is in the business of selling, so the religious news doesn’t really get published.

'We no longer get our religion reporter from the New York Times; we no longer have our religion quarter from Washington Post; so it is really hard to get the message out, unless you are dealing with a crisis. That is unfortunate, because this [gathering] is really unusual. You get this many people together with as many different perspectives as they have shared and you are dealing with Shias and Sunnis, advocates and Christians and then you are dealing with politicians and diplomats including foreign ministers . This is really important and those connections have to be made right now.

'So I believe the conference is a very positive step and this is the place to have it. Because of what is going on in the region but also I think it was a very courageous thing to do for President Rouhani and the foreign minister and the IPIS to put this together. Because they are going to be criticized and I am not even sure how it is going to be received in the West. But that doesn’t bother me. What is being done right now and what comes out of this in terms of plan of action is important.”

With regard to whether the world is ready for peace, the reverend said:

“I would say we are not ready to eat the dinner, so to speak, but we are ready to sit down at the table, prepare to do that. That takes a lot of work and that is what has been happening here. When I was with the Third Christian-Muslim Summit last week, to see the Sunnis and Shias work together, to see the Catholics and Anglicans, the Orthodox and the Jewish representatives there working together and signing a plan of action is huge.”

Chane, who is now bishop in the Episcopal Church, was installed as the eighth diocesan bishop of Washington in 2002, although in 2011 he retired from the position.

The idea of the WAVE conference – World Against Violence and Extremism - came from Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in his address to the UN General Assembly in New York on September 23, 2013. A few months later, the proposal was adopted unanimously by the United Nations and Tehran offered to host the very first international conference on WAVE.

The two-day meeting, organized by the Institute for Political and International Studies (IPIS} on December 9-10, was welcomed by various political and religious figures as well as researchers and obviously packed with press and media personnel.

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