NICOSIA, Cyprus, NOV. 18, 2008 (Zenit.org).- An appeal for world peace was passed from religious leaders to children to government officials today in Cyprus.
With the presentation of the appeal, the International Meeting of Prayer for Peace, traditionally sponsored by the Catholic lay Sant’Egidio Community, and this year cosponsored by the Orthodox Church of Cyprus, came to an end. This 22nd annual meeting was on “The Civilization of Peace: Faiths and Cultures in Dialogue.”
These annual international meetings are part of the heritage of the World Day of Prayer for Peace convened in Assisi by Pope John Paul II on Oct. 27, 1986.
Religious leaders gave the appeal to children of various nationalities. The children, on behalf of all generations, gave it to ambassadors and authorities representing all the nations of the world.
The text of the appeal acknowledges that the world is “at a difficult point in history. Many certainties are shaken by the economic crisis that has seized our world. Many people are pessimistic about the future. Richer countries focus on protecting their own citizens. A very high price of the crisis will be paid for by the poorest of the world.”
The religious leaders affirmed that “too many people suffer in this world of ours, from war, poverty and violence. […] No one should close his heart to compassion.”
But, they continued, this “is not the time to surrender to pessimism, it is time to heed the sorrow of people, and to work for the foundation of a new world order of peace. The quest for justice, the use of dialogue, and respect for the weak are the tools we need to build this new world order. […] A world without a soul will soon become inhuman.”
The religious leaders affirmed that their various creeds “strongly testify that a world with no spirit will never be human: They cry out that spirit and humanity should never be trampled on by war; they beg for peace. […] Religions are aware that talking of war in God’s name is meaningless and blasphemous. They are convinced a better humanity will never come from violence and terrorism.”
And, they affirmed: “We share a common global destiny: Either we live together in peace or we perish. War is never inevitable and it piles up ruins even in the hearts of winners.”
The religious leaders appealed for dialogue, saying it “does not generate weakness, rather it grants new strength. It is the real alternative to violence. Nothing is lost with dialogue. Anything can become possible.”
“May God grant the world the wonderful gift of peace, through the prayer of all believers,” they concluded. “This is not the utopia of heaven on earth, it is our duty to build a more human world. Spirit and brotherhood will make this world possible. No war is ever holy. Peace alone is holy!”