Cardinal in CAR Advocates for Interreligious Dialogue, Says “indispensable path to peace”

Dieudonné Cardinal Nzapalainga at the 65th anniversary of the Catholic University of Congo (UCC), in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Credit: UCC

At an international colloquium marking the 65th anniversary of the Catholic University of Congo (UCC), in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Cardinal in the Central African Republic (CAR) has underscored the importance of interreligious dialogue in peace building.

Delivering the inaugural lecture Tuesday, April 26, Dieudonné Cardinal Nzapalainga said the numerous crises some countries in the world face today can be resolved through interreligious dialogue.

“Interreligious dialogue is an indispensable path to peace building in the world today and deserves to be considered an absolute necessity and the deepest aspiration of the human race,” Cardinal Nzapalainga said.

In his lecture titled, “Interreligious Dialogue at the Service of Peace for a New Humanism”, the Cardinal added that with the health crisis and the war in Ukraine and the various armed conflicts in several African countries, “the call for the construction of a school of peace is of vital importance.”

To achieve this, the member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans) said, “It is necessary and inevitable to open up and dialogue with other religions.”


“This dialogue passes by the recognition of what is good, true and holy in other denominations,” the Cardinal said, and added, “The famous slogan ‘extra ecclesiam nulla salus’ (outside the Church there is no salvation) is already outdated, because no one has a monopoly on the truth.”

Cardinal Nzapalainga further said, “Religions must be present in all initiatives that can contribute to the advent of a lasting peace for all religions have a mission to work for peace.”

“It is therefore impossible to talk about peace if one is not yet ready to enter into a relationship with people who do not share my religion,” he added.

The Local Ordinary of the Archdiocese of Bangui went on to highlight the importance of hospitality, which he described as “the welcome and recognition of the other in his or her difference without this difference being the cause of disputes.”

“Welcoming the other also means welcoming the face of the other, accepting the other in his vulnerability, overcoming antagonisms, getting to know the other, moving from contempt to esteem,” the 55-year-old Cardinal said.

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He added, “Each one of us is therefore called to rediscover the relational path that Jesus shows us with the Canaanite woman.”

“For the construction of peace, interreligious dialogue breaks down the ideological barriers that divide and leads to respect for the other. This is how the human race can build peace,” the Cardinal said during the 65th anniversary of UCC that is taking place under the theme, “Education and peace building in today's world: Challenges and perspectives.”

Established in 1957, UCC is an institution of the National Episcopal Conference of Congo (CENCO).

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.