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    » 10/14/2011, 00.00

    VATICAN-ASSISI 2011

    Assisi 2011: pilgrimage, not prayer, of all religions and non-believers



    Programme for day announced by Benedict XVI to commemorate the first meeting in Assisi on October 26, 1986 begins to take shape. The official launch of the event on Oct. 18 at the Vatican. Participants also include staunchly non-religious people.
    Vatican City (AsiaNews) - On October 27, Benedict XVI will lead many representatives and religious leaders, as well as some people who are not overtly religious to Assisi for an event titled "Pilgrims of truth, pilgrims of peace." It will commemorate the now historic meeting for peace held October 27, 1986 at the initiative of John Paul II. Card. Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, one of the event organizers, has stressed that "the emphasis this time is on the pilgrimage and not prayer. From what I understand the program, which is still being finalized, prayer, if it is not ruled out entirely, will be minimal", said the cardinal. The details of the day’s programme will be revealed Tuesday, October 18, just nine days before the departure date, at a press conference at the Vatican, conducted by the same Turkson.

    There will be less than 100 participants, but the list is not yet complete. Christian delegations are the majority (thirty). These include the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, the Orthodox archbishop of Cyprus, the Archbishop of Astana, Metropolitan Alexander, a man close to the Patriarch of Moscow, Kirill. Orthodox, Anglicans, Lutherans, Evangelicals. There are also Jews, representatives of the World Jewish Congress and influential rabbis from various countries. Hindus, animists, Buddhists will also be present.

    For Muslims, many members will be representatives, even if the university of Al-Azhar in Cairo, the largest Sunni theological center, still in entrenched in controversy over the speech made by Benedict XVI in defense of religious equality and Copts in Egypt has strongly declined the invitation. Next to the Pope, before the tomb of St. Francis, will be Prince Ghazi Bin Talal of Jordan, cousin of the king and his advisor on religious matters, one of the signatories of the letter to the Pope of the 138 Islamic scholars. He will also have the place of honor next to the pope during the meal.

    At the express request of Pope Benedict XVI there will also be people who are openly non-believers, (five, in all probability) including Julia Kristeva, a famous French psychoanalyst, a student of Lacan, of Bulgarian origin. The names of atheist intellectuals have been provided by the Cardinal Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, the creator of the Courtyard of the Gentiles, a think tank for dialogue with those who are 'distant' from the church.

    The program includes a prayer vigil in St. Peter's Square on October 26. The next day, participants will travel from Rome to Assisi, by train departing from the station inside the Vatican walls. As far as is known to date, the first moment of the day will take place in the basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli, where there will be guests who will make various interventions. Following this a documentary on October 26, 1986 will be shown. Then there will be a frugal, shared meal and a period of rest and individual reflection. Thus, the participants will come together to visit the tomb of the saint followed by the reading in the square of a message on world peace.

    In the first meeting in Assisi, the common prayer of all religions, and the permitting of prayer of different religions in the churches of the Umbrian city created confusion and gave rise to sharp criticism and no small amount of shock, with accusations that it bordered on forms of syncretism. Card. Turkson, who was in Assisi in 1986 along with other African priests, recalls that "we were given a space in the town hall" to pray, while "some non-Catholics had a church." Incidents of this kind, "gave rise to criticism."


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    See also

    27/10/2011 VATICAN - ASSISI 2011
    Pope: Seekers of truth and of God, against religious violence and the absence of God
    Benedict XVI offers an overview of the 25 years since Assisi 1986: after the fall of the Berlin Wall, freedom has lost its sense of direction and become capable of violence. The violence of religious terrorism, added to that of worship "of mammon, possessions and power," that destroys man. The presence of non-religious personalities in Assisi, who are searching for truth and God corrects the assumptions of atheism and purifies the testimony of religious believers.

    27/10/2011 VATICAN
    Pope leaves Vatican train station bound for Assisi 2011
    The Day of "pilgrims of truth, pilgrims of peace” has begun. Together with the pope, 300 delegates from over 50 countries worldwide. At least 100 are from Asia, the Muslim presence is growing. Unlike Assisi 1986, this time there are also representatives of those who do not belong to any religion, but who are “searching for the truth". No common prayer. The arrival in Assisi scheduled for 9.45.

    28/10/2011 VATICAN - ASSISI 2011
    Pope: Assisi represents the millions of men who are committed to promoting peace and justice
    Benedict receives the delegations who participated in the Assisi Day. Meetings of this kind "are a clear expression of the fact that every day in the world, people of different religions live and work together in harmony."

    10/06/2009 ASIA
    AsiaNews special on the Pope in the Holy Land while war drums resound
    The 42 page special edition gives a day-by-day account of Benedict XVI’s pilgrimage to Jordan, Israel and Palestine. It is the most important but also most misunderstood journey to date. Criticism tends to destroy any hopes that peace is possible, preparing the ground instead for war. But the pope’s message of pace and coexsistence is the most realistic.

    04/09/2006 VATICAN
    Pope: religion can only bring peace

    In a message marking 20 years since the Assisi meeting, Benedict XVI stressed that no one can use faith to justify violence. The inter-faith meeting did not have, nor should it have now, any streaks of syncretism. There was a reference to St Francis: his activities were the fruit of his conversion.





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