Peace Message Sent to Tribal Religions

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 17, 2005 ( The Holy See sent a message through local Churches to believers of traditional religions, inviting them to contribute to the building of peace.

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This was the conclusion of a conference on «Resources for Peace in Traditional Religions,» organized in the Vatican by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. The conference closed Saturday.

The religions in focus were ethnic or tribal, and usually found in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The traditional, or tribal, religions — which tend to be secretive — were not represented.

The president of the pontifical council, Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, told Vatican Radio that «we will send our message to the local churches and to commissions for dialogue. It will be up to the latter to take up the issue and go forward in the direction of dialogue so that all traditional religions can contribute to peace.»

Father Theodore Mudiji, director of the Center of Studies of African Religions and professor at the Catholic University of Kinshasa, Congo, said that the dialogue between Catholics and members of the traditional religions in Africa has benefited in recent years from a «great effort.»

«There is a dialogue,» he said, «that seeks common values to advance in human fraternity.»

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