Bologna – Slovenian President Borut Pahor addressed a meeting of the G20 Interfaith Forum (IF20) in Bologna on Sunday, saying that divisions, in particular political and ideological, were one of the societal wounds that need to be urgently healed. He also proposed a meeting of senior religious representatives in the Western Balkan region.
According to a Twitter post on Pahor’s Twitter account, he said that general understanding of dialogue had become limited lately to the right to express one’s own opinion, and there was no feeling that different viewpoints and the efforts to bring them closer are being respected.
The Slovenian president is convinced that the level of culture of dialogue, “which has dangerously deteriorated with the spreading of intolerant, insulting or even exclusive hate speech,” needs to be raised.
“We must therefore do everything within our power to emphasise the value of dialogue, respect for and consideration of different opinions and their reconciliation,” Pahor added in his address.
He said that constructive cooperation was possible only through such dialogue, and that cooperation was the only way of reaching peaceful solutions to all problems.
“The constitutional principle of the separation of church and state does not prohibit constructive dialogue between the political institutions of the state and ecclesiastical authorities.”
Pahor believes that, in particular in the current situation, such a dialogue is of utmost importance, and in this regard he presented the idea of a meeting of high representatives of different churches in the Western Balkans.
On the sidelines of the forum, Pahor met European Parliament President David Sassoli to talk about the Slovenian presidency of the EU Council and topical issues related to the EU and its future, the president’s office said.
On Saturday evening, the Slovenian president attended a ceremony remembering victims killed during prayer in church of various confessions all around the world, held in Santo Stefano Basilica by Bologna Archbishop Matteo Zuppi.
The meeting of the G20 Interfaith Forum is held on 12-14 September in Bologna as part of the Italian presidency of the IF20, which was established in 2014 as an annual platform for dialogue between religious representatives and political leaders.