Pope to International Meeting for Peace: 'There Can Be No Religious Justification for Violence'
Vatican City: Pope Francis met today with participants of the International Meeting for Peace which is organized by the Sant’Egidio Community. The meeting, which began yesterday and concludes on October 1st, will reflect on the theme: “Courage and Hope: Religions and Cultures in Dialogue.
The Holy Father began his address by praising the Sant’Egidio Community for following Blessed John Paul II’s call for religious leaders to pray alongside each other.
“You have gained pace with the participation of important figures from all religions and from lay representatives and humanists,” the Holy Father said.
The Pope also stressed that today’s world is in need of peace. “We can never be resigned in face of the pain of entire populations, hostages of war, of misery, of exploitation. We cannot be indifferent and impotent in face of the drama of children, families, elderly affected by violence. We cannot let terrorism imprison the heart of a few violent men to sow grief and death to so many,” the Pope said.
“In a special way we all say forcefully, continually, that there can be no religious justification for violence, in whatever way it manifests itself.”
While emphasizing the responsibility that religious leaders have in promoting peace, Pope Francis told the participants gathered that dialogue is the true way of peace. The 76 year old Pontiff quoted his predecessor, Venerable Paul VI, who said that “Religion is by its nature a relationship between God and man. Prayer expresses this relationship through dialogue.”
Concluding his address, the Holy Father repeated his call for peace in the world, particularly in Syria and the Middle East. The courage of peace, he said, “gives the courage of hope in the world, to all those who suffer because of war; to young people who look with concern to their future.”