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.
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.