Sunday, February 22, 2009

Pope's Address to Religious Leaders in Naples

"Religion Can Never Be a Vehicle of Hate"

NAPLES, Italy, OCT. 21, 2007 ( Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI delivered today to the 21st International Encounter of Peoples and Religions. The meeting, organized by the Community of Sant'Egidio, has as its theme "Toward a World Without Violence: Religions and Cultures in Dialogue."

* * *

Holinesses, Beatitudes, Illustrious Leaders
Representatives of Churches and Ecclesial Communities
Kind Members of the Major World Religions

I gladly welcome this occasion to greet those convoked here in Naples for the XXI Meeting for Peace on the theme "Toward a World without Violence: Religions and Cultures in Dialogue." You representatives who are gathered here express in a certain sense the different religious worlds and patrimonies of humanity to which the Catholic looks with cordial attention. A word of appreciation must be directed to his eminence CardinalCrescenzio Sepe and the Archdiocese of Naples who are hosting this meeting, and to the Community of Sant'Egidio which works with dedication to promote dialogue among religions and cultures in "the spirit of Assisi."

This meeting turns our minds back to 1986, when my venerable predecessor, John Paul II, invited major religious representatives to pray for peace on the hill of St. Francis, highlighting in those circumstances the intrinsic link that unites an authentic religious attitude with a living sensibility for this basic good of humanity. In 2002, after the dramatic events of Sept. 11 of the previous year, the same John Paul II again called religious leaders to Assisi to ask God to stop the grave threats to humanity that were looming, especially because of terrorism.

In respect of the differences of the various religions, we are all called to work for peace and to an active commitment to promote reconciliation between peoples. It is this authentic "spirit of Assisi" which is opposed to every form of violence and abuse of religion as a pretext for violence.

Faced with a world lacerated by conflicts, where at times violence is justified in the name of God, it is important to re-emphasize that religion can never be a vehicle of hate; never, in the name of God, can we justify evil and violence. On the contrary, because they speak of peace to the human heart, religions can offer precious resources for building a peaceful humanity.

The Catholic Church intends to continue along the road of dialogue to promote understanding among various cultures, traditions and religious wisdom. I ardently desire that this spirit spread more and more, especially where the tensions are strongest, where freedom and respect for the other are denied and men and women suffer the consequences of intolerance and misunderstanding.

Dear friends, may these days of work and prayerful listening be fruitful for all. For this I lift up my prayer to the Eternal God, may he pour out his benediction, his wisdom, and his love in abundance upon all of the participants in this meeting. May he liberate the hearts of men from all hatred and from the root of violence and make us builders of the civilization of love.

Total Pageviews


Religion - Top Blogs Philippines