ZENIT News Agency, The World Seen from Rome
Peace Appeal Issued at Assisi Meeting of Prayer
"God Is Stronger Than Those Who Want War"
ASSISI, Italy, SEPT. 7, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Here is the Peace Appeal issued
at the International Meeting of Prayer for Peace, held in Assisi on Monday
and Tuesday. The appeal was signed by hundreds of representatives of various
* * *
Men and women of different religions, we gathered in Assisi, the city of
Francis, the saint of peace, in a difficult time for our world, heavily burdened
with tensions, conflicts and terrorist threats. We evoked the audacious and
prophetic initiative of John Paul II in 1986, when the cold war was at its
peak and he invited to Assisi the religious leaders of the world to pray
That was the beginning of a path of dialogue, prayer and peace, that has
now led us back to Assisi. Along the way, it released energies of peace and
sustained many people's hopes for a future of peace. During these days, we
focused on our diverse religious traditions. In different ways they testify
to a message of peace with ancient roots. We were joined in our dialogue
by secular humanists, men and women. We lived a school of dialogue.
Today we have gathered in prayer according to our different religious traditions,
believing in the value of invoking God for the construction of peace. We
have shown that prayer does not divide, rather it unites: We have prayed
one beside the other; we will never pray one against the other. We have turned
our attention to many situations of conflict and sorrow, involving thousands
of people, families, and entire populations. We shared their suffering. We
do not want to forget them, nor accept their sorrows.
There are many problems in the world today. Yet, we do not surrender to the
culture of conflict, that considers clashes the impending unavoidable fate
of entire religious communities, cultures and civilizations. We are believers,
men and women. We are not naive. The century that has gone by showed us that
world wars, the Shoah, genocides of unimaginable proportions, mass oppression
and totalitarian ideologies stole millions of human lives, and have not transformed
the world as they had promised.
For this reason we say: Clashes are never an unavoidable fate, no war is
ever natural. Peace is vital, even when it seems difficult or desperate to
pursue. We want to help every man and every woman, those who have governmental
responsibilities, to lift up their eyes, beyond pessimism, and discover that
hope is at hand when we are capable of living the art of dialogue.
Religions accustom believers to accomplish those high values that many people
consider hard to attain. We cannot give up reducing the abyss between rich
and poor. We cannot give up seeking peace with all our efforts. Here, from
the hill of Assisi, we communicate and offer our hope, asking believers in
our communities to pray and work for peace. We believe in dialogue, patient,
truthful and sensible: dialogue in search for peace but also dialogue to
avoid the abyss that separate cultures and people and lead to severe conflicts.
All of us, belonging to different religions, we affirmed the value of dialogue,
of living in peace, and we practiced it in these days, in a spirit of friendship,
as a model and an example for the believers in our communities.
War is not unavoidable. Religions never justify hatred and violence. Those
using the name of God to destroy others move away from true religion. Those
spreading terror, death and violence in the name of God must remember that
peace is the name of God. God is stronger than those who want war, cultivate
hatred, and live on violence. We hope for a world of peace. Nothing is lost
through dialogue, everything is possible with peace! War never again. May
God grant to the world the wonderful gift of peace!
Assisi, September 5, 2006
* * *
To sign the appeal, see www.santegidio.org/en/ecumenismo/uer/2006/assisi/form_appel.htm