Milan Meeting's "Appeal for Peace"

“Those Who Choose Violence, Discredit Their Own Cause”

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MILAN, Italy, SEPT. 9, 2004 ( Here is the “Appeal for Peace” that concluded the “Men and Religions” meeting held here Sept. 5-7 and organized by the Community of Sant’Egidio and the Milan Archdiocese.

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Appeal For Peace

We, men and women of different religions, coming from 60 countries worldwide, gathered in Milan to invoke God’s great gift of peace. We deepened our respective religious traditions, [and] looked with compassion at the wounds of the world we live in, the wounds of the peoples, of the little ones. We listened to the prayer of many, pleading for the globalization of solidarity, asking to work for a better future especially for the children and the elderly, for Europe, Africa, the Middle East, the Americas, Asia, for all the continents. We listened to the prayer of those who implore for survival from AIDS, hunger, thirst, war, terrorism. We prayed and we discovered once more the irreplaceable power of prayer.

Our world seems to have forgotten that human life is sacred. Yet, God is close to each and every victim of violence and desires the disappearance of violence that possesses hearts and minds. God feels compassion for those who endure war, for those who are in despair. God shows a new path, to be followed courageously.

Peace is the name of God. Thus, those who exploit the holy name of God to bless war and terrorism curse the cause for which they fight, and alienate themselves from God.

Prayer, listening, dialogue — even in these sad times — taught us to see beyond resignation and fear, which affect the hearts and minds of many.

From the depth of our respective religious traditions we understood more profoundly how fear, terrorism and war put humanity at risk of self-destruction and how human beings end up surrendering to that very evil they seek to oppose.

Those who choose violence, discredit their own cause. Those who believe that only more violence is the answer to the wrongs they have suffered, are incapable of seeing the mountains of hatred they have fostered, which will also affect future generations. A world free from war and terror is possible.

This is the time for the courage to forge a new spiritual humanism, enabling us to be less fearful and build a new world, the one we desperately need today. This courage is nurtured by faith. Faith sustains the sacredness of the value of the human being and it links every person to a world where others exist. That is why we believe in the need for continuing dialogue. Dialogue is the path which gives a future to the world, making it possible for all to live together. Dialogue does not leave anyone helpless, instead, it protects. Dialogue helps us see the good in the other, and brings out the best in each of us. Dialogue can turn the stranger into a friend, and it liberates us from the demon of violence. Dialogue is the art of the courageous, which heals the wounds of division and regenerates life from the depths of the heart.

Violence is a defeat for everyone. Over time, the art of dialogue dismantles the logic of terror, and overcomes injustice which creates resentment and violence.

From Milan, we ask first ourselves, and then all men and women of good will, to live the courage of a new humanism, founded on our respective faiths. This is the only way we see to build a world of peace.

May God finally grant to our times the splendid gift of peace.

Milan, September 7th, 2004

[Translation issued by the Community of Sant’Egidio]

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