BARCELONA, Spain, SEPT. 5, 2001 (Zenit.org).- The 15th International Meeting of Prayer for Peace ended Tuesday with the proclamation of a peace appeal, signed by some 150 religious leaders from all the continents. Following is the text of the appeal.
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PROCLAMATION OF THE PEACE APPEAL
In this century, that has just begun, we, men and women of different faiths, coming from many parts of the world, have gathered in Barcelona to invoke God´s great gift of peace. On the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, which has witnessed both conflict and peaceful coexistence, a fervent prayer is lifted up, asking that war may cease in the many countries of the world. A deep conviction has resounded in the conscience of the different religions: that God loves peace and does not want war. Those who invoke the name of God in prayer discover that His name means peace. This conviction and this prayer are a treasure for the world.
We have been touched by the cry of peoples living under war, the poor and the victims of hatred. As men and women of faith, we were joined by those who bear witness to the search for what is human. We feel that we face the common challenge of giving a soul of peace to our globalized world. Such a soul would enable the many faces of the world to be disclosed.
Peace is the name of God and those who make use of His name in order to hate other people and exercise violence are abandoning true religion. No reason or offence ever justifies the destruction of another person.
We have lived through these days of dialogue and we are convinced that dialogue among the different religions and cultures must continue in this century, which has just begun. The way to overcome mistrust and conflict is dialogue, because talking to one another does not weaken the identity of anyone. Rather it causes all that is best in both parties to be discovered.
In dialogue nothing is lost. Indeed, dialogue is the medicine that helps purify the memory of past mistakes and enables dreams of a better future for the younger generation. In a society in which different peoples are increasingly needing to coexist we need to learn the art of dialogue. As members of different faiths we are committed to walking this way, nourished by hope, mercy and a desire to be available to serve.
We do not wish the peoples of the world to be confronted alone by a globalization that lacks a human face. Neither do we wish to turn our backs on those who are victims of war, the mother of poverty. Equally we would not wish to abandon Africa in its own struggle against war, poverty and disease. For we believe that its destiny will be decisive for Europe and the world. Again we do not want our children to be deprived of hope because we are continuing to destroy the environment.
During these days in Barcelona, a community of peace seekers has grown from people of different backgrounds, traditions, faith and language. This community is our treasure and our strength. We only have the weak strength of faith, prayer and friendship. Prayer and friendship purify our hearts and helps us to share the difficult message of forgiveness, the great way that leads to peace. This prayer and friendship helps us to dream of a new century without war; a century of common respect for people, care for the environment and a unity in diversity.
Let there never be war again! May God grant the whole world and every man and woman the wonderful gift of peace.