Pope warns of ‘domino effect’ of conflicts
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Pope Francis warned on Thursday of the “domino effect” of military conflicts on international relations as he closed an interfaith congress in Kazakhstan, at which spiritual leaders called for “dialogue” with world leaders.

“Peace is urgent because any military conflict or focus of tension and confrontation today can only have a disastrous domino effect and seriously compromise the system of international relations”, declared the Argentine pontiff at the VII Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions in Nur- Sultan, the Kazakh capital.

The 100 delegations from 50 countries present at the triennial summit, which was attended by representatives of Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism among other denominations, adopted by the majority a declaration that calls on world leaders “to abandon all the aggressive and destructive rhetoric that leads to the destabilization of the world”.

“We are convinced that the outbreak of any military conflict, creating sources of tension and confrontation, causes chain reactions that alter international relations,” says the 35-point document, which avoids mentioning Ukraine.

The declaration, signed among others by the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, the main institution of Sunni Islam, also supports “the protection of the dignity and rights of women, the improvement of their social status as equal members of the family and society”.

Of the roughly 80 religious representatives seated at a round table in Nur-Sultan’s Palace of Independence, only half a dozen were women.

The pope also appealed to “protect the dignity” of women and argued that “greater roles and responsibilities must be entrusted to them”.

“How many options that lead to death would be avoided if women were at the center of decisions! Let’s commit to them being more respected, recognized, and included,” he added.

Since his election in 2013, Francis has worked hard to increase the number of women in senior positions in the Curia, the Vatican government, but so far none have taken on a dicastery, the equivalent of a ministry.

On Thursday morning, the pontiff visited the Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Nur-Sultan, where he gave a speech to the local clergy, who warmly applauded him.

Francis is due to arrive on Thursday at around 8:30 pm (3:30 pm GMT) in Rome. On his return flight, he will give the traditional press conference on the papal plane.

Source: With Agencies

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