Dublin Archbishop´s Address to Religious Leaders

Fomenting Violence «Contradicts Religion´s Truest Inspiration»

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DUBLIN, Ireland, MARCH 22, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Here is the text of Cardinal Desmond Connell´s address to a historic gathering of interreligious leaders in Dublin. The leaders met Wednesday to underscore their commitment to world peace in the wake of Sept. 11.

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It is now over six months since the events of September 11, 2001. They shook the world and reminded us that at the beginning of the third millennium, the world has been made more fragile by violence and terrorism.

Since then, there has been an almost unanimous condemnation of terrorism. There has also been a desire among members of religions to testify together that religions are committed to fostering in the world a climate of peace, justice, and understanding, avoiding at all cost opposition between various religions and the use of the different creeds to justify war and violence.

Ever since the fearful events of last September, His Holiness Pope John Paul II has also condemned terrorism and has, with his universally recognized moral authority, urged everyone to choose peace, justice, and forgiveness. He invited representatives of the world religions to make a pilgrimage of prayer to the City of Assisi. On January 24 this year, these representatives prayed for the end of conflict and the promotion of true peace. They declared before the world that religion must never become a cause of conflict, hatred, and violence.

It is in this context that I have invited you, my fellow Christians and brothers and sisters of other religions, to come together here in Dublin to examine ourselves before God concerning our commitment to peace, to ask him for this gift, and to bear witness to our shared longing for a world of greater justice and solidarity. By coming together we want to declare that whoever uses religion to foment violence contradicts religion´s deepest and truest inspiration.

All religions, in fact, contain expressions of the Golden Rule «Always treat others as you would like them to treat you» (Matthew 7:12; Luke 6:31). My dear Christian brothers and sisters, we find the Golden Rule expressed in the Gospel where Jesus brings it to fulfillment in the new commandment «Love one another as I have loved you» (John 13:34). He laid down his life for humanity and so became «our peace, who has made us both one, and broken down the dividing wall of hostility» (Ephesians 2:14).

But we are united with all of you, our brothers and sisters of the world´s great religions, in recognizing that, with its emphasis on the duty to love one´s brothers and sisters, the Golden Rule creates pockets of universal fraternity throughout the world, pockets in which peace reigns. Here today in Dublin we desire to create such a pocket of universal fraternity. We want to demonstrate our solidarity in witnessing together to our common commitment to peace and justice. It is my hope that this gathering may send out a beam of the light of love to help dispel the dark clouds that arise in the world through mutual suspicion, misunderstanding, and hatred.

To build true peace which involves justice, freedom, and forgiveness, a prior commitment to prayer is required. Prayer is openness, listening, dialogue, and finally union with God, the prime wellspring of true peace. Shortly we shall be taking it in turns to beg from God the gift of peace. Let us ask that we be given the gift of recognizing the path of peace, of right relationship with God and among ourselves. We have a single goal and a shared intention, but we will pray in different ways, respecting one another´s religious traditions. In doing so we communicate a further message «that the genuine impulse to prayer does not lead to opposition and still less to disdain of others, but rather to constructive dialogue, a dialogue in which each one, without relativism or syncretism of any kind, becomes more deeply aware of the duty to bear witness and to proclaim» (John Paul II in Assisi).

When this day is over, may we go forward together, always witnessing to and proclaiming peace, the fruit of love.

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