Pope Sends Greeting to Japan Interreligious Event

Reiterates Importance of Religious Leaders’ Commitment to Peace

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VATICAN CITY, AUG. 3, 2012 (Zenit.org).- The Vatican today released the text of a note Benedict XVI addressed to the Venerable Kojun Handa, supreme priest of the Tendai Buddhist Denomination, for the 25th anniversary of an annual interreligious gathering held at Mount Hiei in Japan.

The brief message notes that the gathering in Asia takes place in the “spirit of the 1986 historic meeting in Assisi promoted by my predecessor Blessed John Paul II.”

“The commitment to the cause of peace by religious leaders is of the greatest importance and I am happy to learn that, thanks to your efforts, the Summit on Mount Hiei has become a major annual event that contributes effectively to dialogue between people of different beliefs,” Benedict wrote.

He noted the theme of this year’s summit — the response of religious leaders to natural disasters. 

“According to the Christian perspective, the love given to those who suffer is a reflection of the divine charity of God who so loved the world that he sent his only Son Jesus Christ,” the Pontiff said. “In this sense, my mind turns to the earthquake and tsunami in north-east Japan last year and the harrowing consequences for the whole nation. It was heartening to learn of the effective role of religious leaders in offering hope and support, as well as counsel and solace, to all those suffering.”

The Holy Father reflected that the tragedy “shows how people of different beliefs can cooperate with one another for the good of the human person.”

The Bishop of Rome concluded the message with a “pledge of goodwill and friendship,” and invoking divine blessings upon all the participants.

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