LYON, France, SEPT. 13, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Here is the “Appeal for Peace,” launched today by religious leaders gathered in Lyon, at the conclusion of the three-day meeting “Men and Religions.”
The theme of the meeting was “The Courage to Forge a Spiritual Humanism of Peace.” It was organized by the Rome-based Community of Sant’Egidio and the Archdiocese of Lyon and attended by leading figures of some of the world’s major religions.
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Appeal for Peace
Men and women of different religions, we gathered in the ancient city of Lyon to pray, to dialogue and to nurture a spiritual humanism of peace. We pay homage to the memory of John Paul II, a man of dialogue and a tenacious witness of the sanctity of peace. We believe that without peace this world becomes inhuman. We have heard the cry of many, suffering from war and terrorism. We have questioned and deepened our commitment to our respective religious traditions and we have found in them a message of peace. We prayed for peace in the world.
It is in the name of peace that we address the believers of our traditions, men and women of good will, and those who still believe that violence makes the world a better place. To them we say: It is time to stop the use of violence! Human life is sacred. Violence humiliates human beings and diminishes the cause of those who make use of it. The world is tired of living in fear. Religions do not want violence, war or terrorism. We proclaim this with conviction!
Peace is the name of God. God never wants the elimination of the other. God is moved with compassion for the victims of violence, terror and war. Those who legitimate their interests or justify violence in the name of God debase religion. No war is ever holy. Humanity is not improved by violence or terror. Religions teach us that inner peace is essential. God gives it to those who believe. Our firm hope is that peace, the gift of God, spreads to all men and women, embracing all the peoples of the world, stopping the hand of the violent, and confounding the designs of terror. This is why we prayed in Lyon.
We have also recognized that the sorrows of the world are many. Humanity is still far from accomplishing the Millennium development goals it has set for itself: to reduce poverty, to establish the right to medical care, to education, to water, to security, to be free from hunger. This failure is truly sad! Our world is still scarred by despairing poverty.
It is this sorrowful reality that we present with deep concern to the political leaders of our times. We take up the burden of despair and the needs of millions of poor people. We demand that all energies and resources be brought together to make the world of the 21st century more human and less poor.
Peace increases the chances for a better world, and dialogue is the path to peace. Dialogue does not lower one’s defenses, rather it is a protection. Dialogue transforms strangers into friends and enables people to work together and fight against poverty and evil. In Lyon, we have carried out an earnest dialogue, illuminated by the religious spirit of prayer. As representatives of various religious communities, we have engaged in dialogue with each other and with our humanist contemporaries. The profound diversity of religions and cultures is now more evident. Although globalized, the world has not become all the same.
Nevertheless, we now clearly see that there is a single destiny. It is time to work together courageously to forge a spiritual humanism capable of building peace among nations and individuals. The aim is not the triumph of one or the other, but the creation of a civilization where people live together. The art of dialogue is the patient way to build this civilization of coexistence.
May God grant to our world, to every man and every woman, the splendid gift of peace!