Holy See to Attend Interreligious Congress in Kazakhstan

VATICAN CITY, AUG. 26, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See will participate in an interreligious congress Sept. 23-24 in Kazakhstan.

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<br> «It is necessary that people and religious communities express the clearest and most radical rejection of violence, all violence, from the one that tries to dress up as religiosity, even appealing to the sacrosanct name of God to offend man,» Vatican spokesman Joaquín Navarro-Valls explained in a note today.

He quoted John Paul II’s address to religious leaders, who met in Assisi, Italy, in January 2002, for the World Day of Prayer for Peace, following the Sept. 11 attacks. «An offense to man is, finally, an offense to God,» the Pope said. «There is no religious end that can justify the practice of violence of man against man.»

Cardinal Jozef Tomko, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, will head the Vatican delegation.

Also attending will be Archbishop Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, and Bishop Pier Luigi Celata, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

John Paul II’s visit to Kazakhstan in late September 2001 helped promote interreligious dialogue in the former Soviet republic of 16.7 million inhabitants, 47% of whom are Muslims, and 44% Orthodox.

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