Hoping That "Ecological Conflicts" Don't Become Religious

Conclusion of Consultation by Episcopates

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NAMUR, Belgium, JUNE 8, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Action and intense dialogue are needed so that ecological conflicts are not transferred to the religious plane, said delegates at an episcopal-conference event.

On the environment question, interreligious dialogue has a key role to play, according to the conclusions of the 6th Consultation of the European Bishops’ Conferences on Responsibility for Creation.

The Council of European Bishops’ Conferences (CCEE) organized the event in collaboration with the Diocese of Namur and the Belgian episcopate. More than 60 delegates from 22 countries participated in the Thursday-to-Sunday event.

«Responsibility for creation is a key challenge for the earth’s future, for the defense of peace and for Christian witness, too, in modern society: The Christian Churches are in agreement over this appraisal of the ecological problem,» says a CCEE statement. «Interreligious dialogue is also a necessary element in ecological responsibility.»

«There is no peace without ecumenical and interreligious dialogue; there is no peace without justice; there is no justice without the correct management and safeguarding of the resources of creation,» it adds.

«Behind every conflict there is de facto a problem of the distribution of natural resources,» the statement continues. «Definite action and intense dialogue are needed so that ecological conflicts about access to resources such as water (as in the Middle East); oil (in Iraq); and cultivable land (Africa) are stopped and not transferred to a religious plane.»

It adds: «Interreligious dialogue (today above all between Christian and Muslim communities) acquires increasing importance in the maintenance and regaining of peace. In order to avoid any ambivalence about the stance of the monotheistic religions towards violence, interreligious dialogue and ecumenism have become the determining presuppositions for peace and therefore for sustainability, too.»

Attendees at the Namur meeting included representatives from the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

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