"Decade to Overcome Violence" Inaugurated

BERLIN, FEB. 6, 2001 (Zenit.org).- The World Council of Churches this week solemnly inaugurated the «Decade To Overcome Violence.»

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The event, begun Sunday, is a joint commitment of the churches and Christian communities that make up this ecumenical institution, to continue healing the wounds of division and constructing new paths of peace. The symbol adopted for the inauguration was Berlin, the city where East and West met after the fall of the «wall of shame.»

WCC is a community of 342 churches in more than 100 countries, mostly Christian. The Catholic Church is not a member, but maintains cooperative relations with the group.

Representatives of the different Christian denominations made a joint appeal: «The decade is open to all men and women of good will, so that they will not be resigned in the face of destructive violence; they must courageously ask themselves to what degree their own words and actions exacerbate the potential of violence; together they must give a sign in the communities, movements, and groups in favor of nonviolent coexistence; and actively commit themselves in favor of peace, intercultural dialogue, and understanding among peoples.»

On Saturday night, a prayer vigil was held in memory of the children, who were innocent victims of adults´ violence. «We want to remember the sufferings of the most innocent and weak members of our society who … found themselves in the midst of armed conflicts, or the victims of abuses, poverty, sickness and hunger,» the organizers of the Decade explained in a document.

The committee that wrote the basic document for the celebration of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity this year, made up of orthodox theologians of various Christian confessions, including Catholics, offered their support to the WCC initiative, as well as to John Paul II´s request for the cancellation of the debt of developing countries.

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