Justice and Dialogue Avert Societal Tensions, Says Pope

Receives New Dutch Ambassador

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 23, 2005 (Zenit.org).- International justice and «profound dialogue» are two key elements in working toward peace both globally and within increasingly multicultural societies, says John Paul II.

The Pope expressed this conviction on Saturday when receiving the letters of credence of Monique Patricia Antoinette Frank, the new ambassador of the Netherlands to the Holy See.

«Every day, the news of the world reminds all of the imperative need to build a future of peace among men and, in this connection, to consolidate a stable international order, guaranteed in particular by a better distribution of resources at the international level and an active policy of aid for development,» said the Holy Father.

At the same time, the Pope mentioned the «new tensions» caused by the «rapid transformation of our societies, in a world ever more open to the diversity of cultures,» of which the Netherlands is witness.

This country was shaken last Nov. 2 by the murder of film director Theo van Gogh, who was criticized by Muslim sectors that have settled in the Netherlands, for his documentary «Submission,» in which he criticized the position of women in the Muslim world.

In the face of such situations, the Holy Father urgently advocated «a profound dialogue between the different groups that make up the nation so that all may learn to know and respect one another.»

«An effective antidote for the sense of cultural belonging not to be transformed into narrow-mindedness is the serene knowledge, not conditioned by negative prejudices, of the other cultures,» he indicated.

«With this condition, it will be possible to establish peaceful relations among the different communities, to construct all together the common building of the nation,» he said.

To this end the Holy Father convoked a meeting three years ago in Assisi of representatives of all religions around the world «to manifest together our common will for peace.»

«I asked them, in particular, to give up totally any legitimization of recourse to violence for religious reasons and, more than that, that they condemn it explicitly,» he said.

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