If there’s one thing that Pope Francis strongly advocates, it’s inclusivity. Through the years, our dear Santo Papa has moved and inspired us with his acceptance of and compassion for single mothers, unwed couples, members of the LGBTQ community, and even atheists who have lived as morally upright citizens despite their beliefs.
It’s no surprise then that Lolo Kiko is against all forms of racism. This he stressed last May 27 in a speech read months ahead of September 29’s World Day for Migrants and Refugees, and in reaction to the recent European Parliament elections, where many countries have refused migrant entry into their territory.
“The signs of meanness we see around us heighten our fear of ‘the other,’ the unknown, the marginalized, the foreigner,” he said. “In this way, fear deprives us of the desire and the ability to encounter the other, the person different from myself; it deprives me of an opportunity to encounter the Lord.”
November 16 marks International Day for Tolerance. An offshoot of 1995’s International Year for Tolerance, which the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed two years earlier, the day calls for “respect, acceptance and appreciation of the rich diversity of our world’s cultures, our forms of expressions and ways of being human,” as stated in the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) 1995 Declaration of Principles of Tolerance.
How can we celebrate and practice the principles of tolerance in our daily lives?
Strike up a conversation with a co-worker, friend, or acquaintance from a different province or country and keep the conversation light. Ask about their growing-up years, hobbies, and the place they’re from.
Keep an open mind about people and their personal beliefs.
Remember, it’s not about asserting whose beliefs are better or true; it’s about listening, learning, and respecting others.
Spread the word.
Use #tolerance and #toleranceday to post about the International Day for Tolerance and its 2019 theme “Prospering from Pluralism: Embracing Diversity through Innovation and Collaboration.” Inform friends on social media about the significance of this day and encourage them to pass on positive messages about diversity, inclusion, acceptance, and respect.
Reflect on Pope Francis’ words.
May they serve as gentle reminders for us to realize that despite our differences with others, we are all one and the same in the eyes of God:
“Instead of being just a church that welcomes and receives by keeping the doors open, let us try also to be a church that finds new roads, that is able to step outside itself and go to those who do not attend Mass, to those who have quit or are indifferent.”
“I have a dogmatic certainty: God is in every person’s life. God is in everyone’s life. Even if the life of a person has been a disaster, even if it is destroyed by vices, drugs, or anything else, God is in this person’s life. You can—you must—try to seek God in every human life.”
“This is important: to get to know people, listen, expand the circle of ideas. The world is crisscrossed by roads that come closer together and move apart, but the important thing is that they lead towards the Good.”