Tourism Can Help Link Cultures, Says Holy Father

Issues Message for a World Day

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 25, 2004 ( John Paul II says tourism can become an effective vehicle to promote peace, as the root of violence is a lack of understanding and rejection of other cultures.

His message for the World Day of Tourism, which will be celebrated Sept. 27, is entitled «Sport and Tourism: Two Vital Forces at the Service of Reciprocal Understanding, Culture and Development of Countries,» was published today. Cardinal Stephen Fumio Hamao, president of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers, presented the message.

Tourism, the Holy Father writes, «contributes to improving relationships between persons and groups of people which, when it is cordial, respectful and unified, is like a door open to peace and coexistence.»

«In effect, much of the violence in our age is due to misunderstanding and even the rejection of the values and identity of other cultures,» he states. «For this reason, misunderstanding can often be overcome through greater reciprocal knowledge.»

This labor of promoting peace through the understanding of culture, the Pope continues, can be done through helping the «millions of immigrants who must become part of the society that accepts them, based above all on the appreciation and recognition of the identity of each person or group.»

«Therefore,» he writes, «the World Day of Tourism offers the opportunity not only to affirm the positive contribution of tourism to a more just and peaceful world, but also to examine the specific conditions in which it is carried out.»

The Holy Father adds that «the supreme principle which must govern human coexistence is respect for the dignity of each person, created in the image of God, and therefore, our brother or sister.»

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