He spoke about the WCC in relation to addressing conflicts in the world. "I am sure that you would agree with me that we are living in very difficult times,” he said. “The world is in crisis.”
The world is living amidst terrible and unnecessary wars, he noted. “We all know about Ukraine and Russia and in recent times, the Israel and Palestine war since October 7 this year, even though in this context this has been much longer with us since the occupation of Palestine in 1967,” Pillay said. “There are many more wars and conflicts going on that usually don`t get much coverage.”
Pillay discussed the main factors for conflict. "Religious conflicts are prevalent in many parts of the world and while this may be the case, a closer examination will reveal that these are mainly grounded in socio-economic and political tensions,” he said. “I just returned from Nigeria where the religious leaders and people affirmed this.”
Pillay reflected on the importance of a Christian voice for unity. “As we address the various conflicts in the world, it is important for churches to seek unity and to work together,” he said. “The Christian voice for unity is not restricted to the church but to the unity of all humankind and the total unity of all creation.”
Christian unity is needed to witness to and transform the world, concluded Pillay. “Conflict is always going to be with us but we must never give up proclaiming and being the Christian voice charting and declaring the way of Christ,“ he said.
The lecture was hosted by the South African Council of Churches in partnership with the Fohloza Foundation and the University of South Africa.
South African Council of Churches president Archbishop Thabo Makgoba and Fr Lawrence Ndlovu, executive director of the Fohloza Foundation, also addressed the gathering.