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

Dialogue is expression of mercy, respect, love, pope says

Dialogue is an essential component of mercy because it is the only way a husband and wife can understand each other, people of different religions can live in peace and the only way the Catholic Church can evaluate what is needed to promote the common good in the world, Pope Francis said.

Good relations between husbands and wives, parents and children, employees and bosses, he said, require one “to listen, explain with meekness, don’t bark at the other, don’t yell, but have an open heart.”

Pope Francis spoke about the importance of dialogue and marked the feast of St John Paul II on 22nd October with a special Year of Mercy general audience in and around St Peter’s Square. With about 100,000 people in attendance, according to Vatican police, the crowd overflowed the square. Making his rounds in the popemobile at the beginning of the audience, Pope Francis made sure to drive part way down the main boulevard outside the square to greet people.

In his main audience talk, Pope Francis said dialogue is an important aspect of mercy; it is what “allows people to know each other and understand the needs of the other.” In addition, “it is a sign of great respect,” because it involves listening to the other and making the effort to see the good in what the other is saying.

“Dialogue calls us to place ourselves before the other, seeing him or her as a gift of God,” the pope said.

Picture: Pope Francis blesses a camper before a jubilee audience at the Vatican on 22nd October. The camper was donated to the pope for use by the Diocese of Rome in the service of the needy. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano, handout).