Pope Appeals to Tourism to Respect Persons

And Foster Dialogue Among Cultures

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 26, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI appealed to the tourist industry to respect persons and to foster dialogue among cultures as he noted the approach of World Day of Tourism.

After praying the midday Angelus on Sunday with crowds gathered at the papal summer residence, the Pope said that tourism is an “extremely relevant social phenomenon in the contemporary world,” the reason why it must always be “accompanied by respect for persons and cultures, and that it might favor dialogue and understanding.”

On the occasion of World Day of Tourism, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican secretary of state, sent a message in the Pope’s name to Cardinal Stephen Hamao, president of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers.

The theme chosen for this occasion by the World Organization for Tourism is “From the Imaginary World of Jules Verne to the Reality of the 21st Century.”

The theme recalls the centenary of the death of the French author (1828-1905) who, as Cardinal Sodano explains in the message, with his works launched “a challenge to human responsibility to face limits that could no longer be concealed.”

An opportunity

The Holy See appeals in the letter for the opening of tourism “to everyone,” thanks to the new means of transport, seeing it as “providential opportunity to share the goods of the earth and of culture.”

“However, it is necessary to bear in mind the ethical needs associated with tourism,” the message says. Consequently, it calls upon “politicians and lawmakers, and men of government and finance … to favor the peaceful encounter of peoples, guaranteeing security and ease of communication.”

Cardinal Sodano reminds all who work in tourism that they are called “to realize structures that will make it healthy, popular and economically sustainable.”

Moreover, “in all activities, and hence also in tourism, the primary goal must always remain respect for the human being, in the context of the search for the common good,” he states.

The message concludes by reminding all tourists to respect the “individual, cultural and religious” diversity of the peoples they visit, and to be open to dialogue and understanding and, “by their behavior, to transmit sentiments of respect, solidarity and peace.”

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