Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of September 11, 2006
Religion should never be used to justify war – pope
Religion should never be used as excuse or pretext for war, Pope Benedict XVI said in a message to interfaith leaders gathered for a summit on peace.
"No one is therefore permitted to use the motive of religious difference as a reason or pretext for bellicose behaviour toward other human beings," Benedict said in the message.
It was read to 200 religious leaders at the event sponsored by the Rome-based lay Catholic Sant'Egidio Community in Assisi, Italy, the city where the Interreligious Meeting of Prayer for Peace was convoked by Pope John Paul II in 1986.
The Sept. 4 and 5 meeting featured discussions on how to end conflicts and improve dialogue between religion, cultures and nations.
Pope Benedict noted that since the first meeting was held, "the most important event has without a doubt been the fall of the communist-inspired regimes of Eastern Europe" and the end "of the Cold War which had created a kind of division of the world into opposing spheres of influence."
Yet, he stressed, that "moment of general hope of peace" is a "dream that has not come true.
"Quite the contrary," the pope said, "the third millennium began with episodes of terrorism and violence that show no signs of abating."
Violence is not caused by faith itself, the pope said, but "by the cultural limits with which it is lived and with which it develops in time."
Pope Benedict recalled that his predecessor called religious leaders 20 years ago "to bear choral witness to peace" and highlighted "the value of prayer in the construction of peace."
"Peace must be built in the human heart" before cultural, political and economic efforts, Benedict said, adding that the heart is "the place of God's interventions."
(© Catholic Online 2006, www.catholic.org)