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|Bartholomew of Constantinople|
Address to the Conference on peace and tolerance
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Indeed, this is a way that we of the cloth can help our colleagues in government. Our deep and abiding spirituality stands in stark contrast to the secularism of modern politics. The failure of anthropocentric ideologies has left a void in many lives -- the frantic pursuit of the future has sacrificed the stability of the past. As the Council of 1992 stated, these ideologies "have created in men of his century a spiritual void and an existential insecurity and have led many people to seek salvation in new religious and para-religious movements, sects, or nearly idolatrous attachments to the material values of this world."
The famous psychologist C.G. Jung once said that "Among all my patients in the second half of life...every one of them fell ill because he had lost what the living religions of every age have given their followers, and none of them has been really healed who did not regain his religious outlook." He knew this in 1959; in 1994, who does not know it? Communities of faith can balance secular humanism and nationalism with spiritual humanism and ecumenicism - and we can temper the mindless pursuit of modernity with our own healthy respect for tradition.
But we can only do this if we are united in the spirit of the one God, "Creator of all things visible and invisible." Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant, Jew and Muslim -- although we cannot deny our differences, neither can we deny the need for alliance and teamwork to help lead our world away from the bloody abyss of extreme nationalism and intolerance. For it is precisely when we disagree that we have the greatest opportunity to demonstrate tolerance.
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