Cardinal Tells UN of Religions' True Nature

Says Believers Have a Know-How to Offer World

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NEW YORK, NOV. 14, 2008 ( Religions, if they are faithful to their nature, are messengers and craftsmen of peace, declared a representative of Benedict XVI to the U.N. general assembly.

The U.N. assembly was considering Wednesday the theme «Culture and Peace» and Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, spoke with the assembly about making fraternity a reality, not just an ideal.

«All together, without negating our specific cultural and religious aspects, may we work to draw up a plan toward a more secure and solidary world,» he encouraged.

His discourse showed how «religions, despite weakness and contradictions in their followers, are messengers of reconciliation and peace.»

The cardinal explained: «In their families and schools, as well as in their respective places of worship, believers who pray practice solidarity and encourage all the initiatives that contribute to the defense of the person and the earth, likewise teaching the language and gestures of peace.

«They make an effort to listen, understand, respect the other, to trust in him before judging him. All of these attitudes educate and open a space for peace.»

«Each week, millions of believers gather in their synagogues, churches, mosques and other places of worship to pray,» the Vatican representative continued. «They have an experience of fraternity. They achieve unity in diversity. They remind everyone that ‘man does not live on bread alone.'»

Cardinal Tauran said that believers want to «put this know-how at the disposal of everyone.»

«In inviting one to interiority, to harmony within himself, with others and with creation, religions give meaning to the human adventure,» he added.

The cardinal acknowledged that «it is necessary — this is clear — for believers to be coherent and believable. They cannot use religion to limit freedom of conscience, to justify violence, to promote hate and fanaticism, or to undermine the autonomy of politics and religion.»

But on the other hand, he continued, «in participating in public dialogue in the societies in which they are members, believers feel called to cooperate in the promotion of the common good, which goes along with values common to everyone, believers and nonbelievers: the sacred character of life, the dignity of the human person, respect for freedom of conscience and religion, adherence to responsible liberty, openness to diverse opinions, the right use of reason, appreciation of democracy and attention to natural resources, to name a few.»

The cardinal concluded affirming the desire of the Church to «continue offering to all brothers and sisters in humanity a spirit — that of fraternity; a strength — that of prayer; a hope — that which Christ offers.»

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