faith diplomacy

The Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, said the Holy See hopes the rapprochement will soon be followed by the removal of the U.S. embargo, which the Vatican has long opposed. On Friday, the United States eased rules for U.S. citizens wishing to travel to Cuba and simplified procedures for telephone and Internet investments and money transfers to Cuba.

...[In] addition to these anti-terrorism measures that are also generally seen in other countries, Morocco started its unique reform in the religious field, namely, the education of Imams. The objective of this reform is to prevent the youth from developing a false “sympathy”  toward extremism; if Imams preach moderate Islam in all mosques in Morocco, then young Moroccans will understand that the “sympathy” directed toward the Islam of extremists is wrong and that moderate Islam is the correct path.

The waters, indeed, are rough. Should there be some misstep in the U.S. trip, it would surely leave a long-lasting impression, perhaps even one that would color or change the pope’s nearly universally positive standing among the country’s 69 million Catholics.

Pope Francis is not a politician, but likes a good political dustup. And the Holy Father couldn't have packed his trip to the United States this month with more politically charged issues. [...] "People who think the world revolves around Washington politics don't realize that the Pope is a global leader," said Francis Rooney, who was U.S. ambassador to the Vatican for four years under President George W. Bush.

Not all Indians need be vegetarian for vegetarianism to be wielded as another manifestation of India’s soft power — alongside yoga, ayurveda, cuisine, classical arts, and religious pluralism. [...] From Gandhi to Pramukhswami and from Prime Minister Modi to Jain munis, no civilization is synonymized with a value that happens to be healthy for the body and planet, but is repudiated by its media and intelligentsia.

The Narendra Modi government has decided to make India's Buddhism links the centrepiece of its cultural diplomacy thrust through a blitzkrieg of novel projects, after the Prime Minister feted East Asian leaders through his first year in office with references to this religious bridge.

Americans are gung-ho for Pope Francis' U.S. visit — if they know he's coming. But most Americans (52 percent) and nearly a third of Catholics (31 percent) say they hadn't heard about the pope's September visit to Philadelphia, New York City and Washington, D.C., according to a new survey released Tuesday by the Public Religion Research Institute in partnership with Religion News Service.

Viet Nam and Cambodia, at a high-ranking meeting in Phnom Penh yesterday, agreed to co-operate further to implement the co-operation agreements they signed in the field of religion and belief. Co-operation in the field of religion would help facilitate belief and religious activities undertaken by people in the two countries, thus, contributing to strengthen the traditional relationship on the principle of respecting sovereignty and laws of each country....