In Assisi, Religions Will Resolve Not to Use God to Justify Violence

Statement from Vatican Spokesman

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 18, 2002 ( Next week in Assisi all religions will commit themselves not to use the name of God ever to justify or incite violence, a Vatican spokesman said.

Joaquín Navarro-Valls confirmed today that the representatives of all religions have responded «with enthusiasm» to John Paul II´s invitation to meet in St. Francis´ city Jan. 24 to «implore from God the gift of peace.»

The commitment to reject violence will be solemnly pronounced in Assisi, beginning at 3:15 p.m., from the podium installed in the esplanade of the lower basilica. The declaration will be written by participants in the prayer meeting and will be read in 10 languages.

The representatives of religions will ratify their commitment by lighting one of the candles in the large candelabra that is being made for the occasion. The candelabra will later be placed in St. Peter´s Basilica in the Vatican, in remembrance of the commitment of the world´s religions to peace, the director of the Vatican Press Office said.

Navarro-Valls confirmed information published Wednesday by ZENIT regarding the participants in the event.

A dozen Orthodox patriarchates and Churches are expected to be represented, as well as six Eastern patriarchates or ancient Churches. Also expected are other churches, ecclesial communities, federations, Western world alliances and organizations of Judaism, Buddhism, Tenrikyo, Shintoism, Jainism, Sikhism, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, traditional African religions and Christianity.

There will also be representatives of episcopates of countries in situations of war or scourged by violence and terrorism, including Spain, Colombia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Algeria, Angola, Burundi, Nigeria, Pakistan, Rwanda, Sri Lanka and Sudan.

Also attending will be Chief Rabbi David Rosen, the international director of interreligious relations of the American Jewish Committee. He is also president of the International Council of Christians and Jews, and president of the World Conference on Religion and Peace. Contrary to the ZENIT report Wednesday, the rabbi will not represent the Children of the Covenant Association.

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