On the occasion of the first International Day of Human Fraternity, which will be celebrated tomorrow, 4 February, Bishop Alan McGuckian SJ of Raphoe, Chair of the Council for Justice and Peace of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, welcomed the UN Declaration. The role of the Council for Justice & Peace is to support the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference in promoting the social teaching of the Church and to advise on issues of social concern, both nationally and internationally. On 4 February 2019, during the apostolic journey of His Holiness to the United Arab Emirates, Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmad Al-Tayyeb, signed the Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together, also known as the Document on Human Fraternity.

Bishop McGuckian said, “The Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together shows us clearly that there is more that unites us all as human beings, and as believers in God, than that which is too readily focused on as cause for division. This Document, alongside the most recent Papal Encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, which takes up and develops some of the great themes raised in the Document, highlights the common bonds of humanity that unite us, and the challenges that face us all, including ongoing injustice in the world, poverty, extremism and environmental degradation. In the face of these challenges, Pope Francis in Fratelli Tutti points repeatedly to the Good Samaritan as the guide for our own actions towards others.

“On this day I hope that we will reflect on this passage and increase our efforts toward inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue, the promotion of a culture of tolerance and acceptance of others and of living together peacefully which ‘would contribute significantly to reducing many economic, social, political and environmental problems that weigh so heavily on a large part of humanity’.”

In December 2020 the General Assembly of the United Nations Organisation adopted a Resolution declaring 4 February as the International Day of Human Fraternity. This was to commemorate the anniversary of the signing of the Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together by Pope Francis and The Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmad Al-Tayyeb.

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