Tuesday the 18th of May

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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Art can inspire people to build sustainable future, says Vatican official

In a world of different religions, cultures and languages, art has the capacity to bring people together and inspire them to take action in addressing critical challenges, said a Vatican official.

That is why the official, Fr Augusto Zampini, made sure art and culture played a pivotal role in the international conference he helped organise at the Vatican on what religions could do to help the world reach the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Sponsored by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, the conference, which took place from 7th to 9th March, brought together representatives from the world’s major religions.

They discussed how spirituality, religious values and sacred texts all point the way toward safeguarding creation and addressing the challenges of poverty, hunger, inequality, injustice, environmental degradation and other global problems.

That religion, art and culture can and must play a role in building a sustainable future is an idea that had been missing from most international forums, but their input was needed to inspire people to take action, Fr Zampini, director of development and faith at the dicastery, told Catholic News Service.

“How many conferences have you heard (about) that are happening on development? Thousands. What is the effect, the consequences, the change that they have produced?” he asked.

“We don’t want to organise a conference just to talk about development. We want to organise a conference that can make a difference” and one way to make a difference is to utilize art and culture – not as a sideline diversion for entertainment – but as a valuable part of the conversation, he said.

Different cultures and the arts are needed “to talk to our hearts so as to allow us to change,” said Fr Zampini.

Picture: Pope Francis watches as violinist Midori performs at a meeting of the governing council of the International Fund for Agricultural Development at the headquarters of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation in Rome on 14th February 2019. (CNS photo/Paul Haring).