LYON, France, SEPT. 12, 2005 (Zenit.org).- In a message sent to a meeting of religious leaders, Benedict XVI affirmed that only peace and dialogue can be the foundation for a future of hope.
The Pope appealed “to the people of our time, and in particular to young people, to have the courage to commit themselves ever more actively in favor of peace and dialogue, which alone can allow one to envision the future of the world with hope.”
The Holy Father’s message was heard Sunday by leaders of the great religions gathered in Lyon, France, at the three-day meeting “Men and Religions,” organized by the Community of Sant’Egidio and the Archdiocese of Lyon.
The theme of the congress, which ends Tuesday, is “The Courage of a Humanism of Peace.”
“Violence, of whatever sort, cannot be a way of resolving conflicts. It mortgages the future severely and does not respect either persons or peoples,” affirmed the Pontiff in his message, sent to the meeting through Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican secretary of state.
Benedict XVI urged the participants to “implore from God the gift of his peace, supported by Christ’s promise, ‘My peace I leave you, my peace I give you,’ so that they will be able to respond to all the demands and thus be builders of peace.”
Spirit of Assisi
Some 300 religious and lay personalities from dozens of countries are taking part in the meeting, which is held in a different city every year. The gatherings continue with the spirit of religious leaders’ meetings for peace called by Pope John Paul II in Assisi, Italy.
<br> Among the participants in the congress are Cardinals Walter Kasper, Ignace Moussa Daoud, Roger Etchegaray, Paul Poupard, Dionigi Tettamanzi and Philippe Barbarin, archbishop of Lyon.
Among Christians of other confessions are Jean Arnold de Clermont, president of the Protestant Federation of France and president of the Conference of European Churches; Emmanuel Adamakis, Orthodox metropolitan of France; Filaret, metropolitan of Minsk; Rowan Williams, Anglican archbishop of Canterbury; and Keith Clements, secretary-general of the Conference of European Churches.
Among the Jewish representatives are Yona Metzger, the grand rabbi of Israel; and René Samuel Sirat, former chief rabbi of Paris. Among the Muslims are Ezzedin Ibrahim, cultural adviser of the president of the United Arab Emirates, and Ahmad Al-Tayyb, rector of Al-Hazar University of Cairo.
Numerous politicians are also attending, including Simone Weil, former president of the European Parliament.