A Glimpse of Peace and Collaboration among Religions in our Present Age
Jeff Lee’s story “Vancouver residents invite Pope Francis to tour Downtown Eastside and First Nations reserve”, National Post, March 16, 2015 (http://goo.gl/RNqmV5), informs the reader of an attempt, amongst individuals representing a broad range of faiths, of fostering peace in our present age, by inviting Pope Francis to tour the Downtown Eastside and two First Nations reserves in Vancouver.
The request for a visit from Pope Francis, involves individuals from; Jewish, Muslim, First Nation, Anglican, Catholic, and United Church communities, all of which share a common denominator; that one visit from Pope Francis, the head of the Catholic Church, will greatly impact not only the welfare of the city, but the poor and the homeless of the province.
Interestingly enough, the invitation issued to Pope Francis, has received the support of both the Catholic and Anglican Diocese’s in Vancouver, mutually agreeing to deliver the written invitation to Pope Francis via the Vatican emissaries, and a couriered invitation that the group will deliver to the Vatican’s very own front doors. Members of First Nation communities, Muslim and Jewish faiths, Anglican, Catholic, United Church, and the Alliance Church of Canada have all signed the invitation.
It’s worthwhile to note that the effort, to contact the Pope and have him come to Vancouver, is not an initiative of the Churches themselves, rather of Vancouver lawyer Tom Beasley, (a member of the United Church) inspired by a sad realization of a lack of change in Downtown Eastside, “A have travelled through the Downtown Eastside daily on a bus for 25 years, and I don’t see change”. Along with Judy Grave, a former City of Vancouver homeless advocate, and other members of faith communities, Mr. Beasley thinks highly of Pope Francis, saying: “I have watched with great interest and amazement as a non-Catholic person the grace and humility, but focus, that the current Pope Francis gives to the marginalized”. Another individual involved in this initiative, Ms. Graves (Anglo-Catholic) declares to have been “captivated” by Mr. Beasley’s idea. She too sees the lack of progress evident in Downtown Eastside, and deems the visit of the Pope as imperative; “I believe that this visit is necessary because overwhelmingly, the depths of poverty and homelessness are a spiritual problem. It is a spiritual problem of people who have wealth and power”.
The peaceful attempt to achieve one common goal, among various religions is quite astonishing, especially in the state that our present society finds itself, where religious minorities are constantly persecuted in the middle east, people ill-treated, at times to the extent of death, as a consequence of their beliefs. Unlike the views of Hexham and Poewe towards; “Christians having developed a tunnel vision, refusing to look at the world except through Christian eyes” (14), this collaboration of Christians with members of divergent beliefs, deems to prove the openness of Christians and universal attempt to foster peace. The initiative of a member of the United Church; a relatively new religion, has gained the collaboration and support of individuals, with diverse beliefs, providing a glimpse of peace amongst different Religions.