Claretians at the Parlament of World’s Religions discusses on Defending Freedom and Human Rights

Aug 25, 2023 | UN Presence

There were tens of thousands of religious leaders from around the globe gathering in Chicago from 14th to 18th August for the 2023 Parliament of the World’s Religions (PoWR). The Parliament returns to the city of Chicago after 30 years away to celebrate 130 years of history of the modern interfaith movement. As part of Chicago’s World’s Columbian Exposition, the first Parliament took place in 1893. The first revival of that 1893 Parliament took place in 1993 to mark the centennial of the original event. Since then, people of different faiths have met every few years for similar meetings: 1999 in Cape Town, South Africa; 2004 in Barcelona, Spain; 2009 in Melbourne, Australia; 2015 in Salt Lake City, USA; and 2018 in Toronto, Canada. The 2021 Parliament was held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic

The Parliament of the World’s Religions is one of the most significant global interfaith events where people of all faiths meet to discuss issues of universal concern and to strengthen inter-religious relationships among them. There were more than 7,000 civic, spiritual, and grassroots changemakers from more than 200 diverse religious, indigenous, and secular beliefs participating from more than 80 nations.

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Religious at the United Nations (RUN), of which we Claretians are members, participated actively in the parliament. A number of RUN members participated in parallel events as organizers or panelists. Fr. Rohan Dominic CMF represented the Claretian Missionaries (Fondazione Proclade Internazionale-Onlus) in the parliament.

The parliament had plenary sessions and hundreds of simulations breakout parellel sessions, theological, artistic & cultural exhibits, performances, and a film festival. It was also a good opportunity to connect with individuals and organizations working to promote peace, justice, and sustainability.

Cardinal Blasé Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, was among several speakers who spoke on conscience during a plenary session. After his address, Cardinal Cupich signed the parliament’s Global Ethic Declaration

Among the many events, two drew the most attention. “Guns to Garden Tools”, featuring a blacksmith who demonstrated and invited participants to melt down firearms to create garden tools. The Langar – a free community meal of Sikhs was served to all regardless of their gender, caste creed, social status, religion or race.

The theme of this year’s Parliament is, “A Call to Conscience: Defending Freedom and Human Rights.”

Parliament focused on the following areas:

Faith and Democracy

Faith & Interfaith Understanding

Climate Action

The Global Ethic

Peace & Justice

Indigenous Peoples

The Next Generation

Women and Girls

Science & Religion

The Charter for Compassion

Earlier, A day before the Parliament, on Aug. 13, 2023, participants from diverse faith, spiritual, and cultural communities marched in Chicago streets for the Parade of Faiths, a preview event.


An ecumenical declaration on creation care was signed by religious leaders on August 17.   It is not the first-time faith leaders have gathered to advocate effective climate action in recent years. It is however one of the latest efforts by Faith leaders to address climate change.

Additionally, the parliament encouraged faith leaders to support and promote three more initiatives: the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Plastics Treaty, and the Faiths for Biodiversity Statement.

Faith leaders participated in a climate repentance ceremony on the first day of the parliament, and ten spiritual practices for addressing climate change were read by Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist and Christian communities.

Source | Fr. Rohan Dominic, CMF

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