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Cardinal in Morocco Awarded International Prize for Promoting “human dignity”

Cristobal Cardinal Lòpez Romero of Morocco's Rabat Archdiocese, awarded the Empédocles International Prize for Human Sciences from the Academy of Mediterranean Studies. Credit: Courtesy Photo

The Cardinal in Morocco has been recognized for his efforts in fostering human dignity and defense of the vulnerable.

Cristobal Cardinal Lòpez Romero has been awarded in Agrigento, the South of Sicily in Italy, the Empédocles International Prize for Human Sciences from the Academy of Mediterranean Studies.

“The Cardinal deserves this prize for his efforts in favor of human dignity and the vulnerable,” said the Moroccan ambassador to the Holy See, Rajae Naji Mekkaoui, at the Wednesday, December 1 award ceremony.

The Northern African country has always been at the heart of dialogue in the Arab and Muslim world, Mrs. Mekkaoui, and added, “In Morocco all believers are free and all religions are respected.”

The Moroccan diplomat also said, “His Majesty King Mohammed VI supports all peace efforts with commitment and great determination, setting an example of tolerance for the whole world.”

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She expressed her admiration for the initiative of the Honorary President of the Academy, Assunta Gallo Afflito, which supports the values of living together that have always prevailed in Sicily.

Speaking at the award ceremony, Cardinal López Romero praised the religious model of the Kingdom, under the leadership of King Mohammed VI.

“The Catholic Church in Morocco has always transmitted universal messages,” the Cardinal said.

The Spanish-born member of the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB) underlined the dimensions of inter-religious dialogue, which he said manifested in the different initiatives of the Church, notably the visit of Pope Francis to the Kingdom at the invitation of the King, and in the daily life of Moroccans who live together in tolerance with Christians of the sub-Saharan community.

The Archbishop of Morocco’s Rabat also highlighted the role of the Ecumenical Institute of Theology Al Mowafaqa, which was created in Rabat as the initiative of the Catholic and Protestant Churches, noting that this institution ensures, in collaboration with Muslims, interreligious dialogue.

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In Morocco, Cardinal Lopez Romero is noted for his efforts in fostering human development and interreligious dialogue.

Last year, the Catholic Church leader who was elevated to Cardinal in October 2019 called for solidarity in taking preventive measures against the spread of COVID-19 pandemic because the deadly virus does not make distinctions between people or geographical borders.

“There is no room for selfishness and individualism; we are in the same boat,” Cardinal Lopez Romero stated in a message addressed to the faithful over COVID-19 in March 2020.

“We must think for the good of all. The suspension of meetings and Sunday Mass should be seen as an act of solidarity for the whole of humanity and as a gesture of love for one's neighbor, for our neighbors, for our colleagues,” the Cardinal said.

While launching the Diocesan Synod in June, the Archbishop of Rabat encouraged the small Catholic community in Morocco to more fully live out its mission of “encounter and dialogue.”

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“Ours is an unassuming Church -- we are less than 0.1% of the population -- but it seeks to be significant, and it desires to be a sign and sacrament of the Kingdom of God,” Cardinal López Romero said June 4.

“To live dialogue on a daily basis, the Christian must know and feel himself as the ‘sacrament of encounter,’” the 69-year-old Cardinal said.