Sept. 11 Makes Dialogue Even More Vital, Vatican Aide Tells U.N.

Dignity of Human Life Seen as a Core Concern

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NEW YORK, NOV. 12, 2001 ( The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks make the promotion of understanding between cultures and religions all the more urgent, a Vatican aide told the United Nations.

Last Friday, Archbishop Renato Martino, the Vatican representative, addressed the U.N. General Assembly, which is evaluating the impact of the U.N.-proclaimed Year of Dialogue Between Civilizations.

John Paul II had dedicated his World Day of Peace 2001 message to the Year of Dialogue.

«The impact of the brutal and unprecedented attacks of Sept. 11 are forcing all of us to consider the urgency of the dialogue among civilizations, and to intensify our hopes as this International Year draws to a close,» Archbishop Martino said.

The archbishop referred to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan´s report on this subject, and explained that a «dialogue among civilizations is not only a necessary answer to terrorism — it is, in many ways, its nemesis — and the very presence of this organization is a testament to the deep human desire for justice and peace.»

«The terrorist attacks must make the U.N. not only reconsider but recommit and resolve itself to this dialogue,» the Vatican aide stressed.

This objective has a fundamental condition, he added: «recognition of the value and dignity of human life.»

«No authentic dialogue can take place if it fails to respect life,» the archbishop said. «There can be no peace or dialogue among civilizations when this fundamental right is not protected.»

«When the human dignity of the weakest and most vulnerable members of society is not duly recognized, respected and protected, all civilizations suffer,» Archbishop Martino concluded.

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