Your Eminence, Your Excellencies, distinguished guests, and friends – Newt and I are delighted to welcome you to Villa Richardson.
This evening, we are gathered in honor of the Abrahamic Faiths Initiative, a dialogue designed to promote peace, religious freedom, and interreligious harmony.
The United States is proud to support this Initiative, organized by the Multi-Faith Neighbors Network. I’d like to offer my sincere thanks to Pastor Bob Roberts, Imam Mohammad Magid, and Rabbi David Saperstein for making this gathering possible.
I would also like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to all the distinguished faith leaders here this evening, for your dedication to promoting peace and interreligious dialogue.
I am pleased to welcome Ambassador Sam Brownback, our Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom.
Thank you, Ambassador, for everything you do to support the cause of religious freedom and the Abrahamic Faiths Initiative.
Finally, I’d like to express my sincere appreciation to His Eminence, Cardinal Ayuso, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.
We are honored by your presence this evening and your participation in this Initiative.
The Abrahamic Faiths Initiative was inspired in part by the seminal Document on Human Fraternity and Living Together, signed by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar in Abu Dhabi last year.
Indeed, this Initiative responds directly to their invitation to reconciliation and fraternity among all believers and people of good will.
As previously noted by Cardinal Ayuso, the Document on Human Fraternity is a “milestone on the path of interreligious dialogue.”
It’s fitting that your discussions should take place at the Pontifical Gregorian University.
Catholic educational institutions are among the best advocates for religious freedom and interreligious dialogue.
The role of a Catholic university, as Saint John Henry Newman wrote, is to aid in the discernment of truth. It’s a place where serious people gather, examine complex questions, and emerge with clarity and understanding.
The Gregorian University is a place where you, as faith leaders, can consider the important questions raised by Pope Francis at the Global Conference of Human Fraternity in Abu Dhabi.
It was here that the Holy Father asked:
“How do we look after each other? “How do we nourish a fraternity which is not theoretical, but translates into authentic fraternity?” And “how can religions be channels of fraternity, rather than barriers of separation?”
The answers to these questions are fundamental to achieving real and lasting peace and understanding between the Abrahamic Faiths.
As President Trump said in Riyadh during his first presidential overseas visit, “If these three faiths can join together in cooperation, then peace in this world is possible.”
The Abrahamic Faiths Initiative, in short, is predicated and built upon a message of hope.
Your actions this week will serve as a powerful demonstration to the rest of the world that, through interreligious dialogue, peace is possible.
The U.S. Embassy to the Holy See will continue to proudly support and promote these efforts.
We are committed to working with you to advance our shared goals of mutual respect, religious freedom, and peaceful coexistence.
Thank you and God bless.