The day of pilgrimage to Assisi begins with interventions, the representatives of various confessions that accompany Benedict XVI express their witness for peace between faiths, and towards creation.
Assisi (AsiaNews) - The participants in the pilgrimage of prayer in Assisi have spoken of their witness for peace. Here are some passages which seem particularly significant drawn from diverse interventions. The intervention of Julia Kristeva is reproduced in another article.
Card. Peter Kowdo Appiah Turkson President of the pontifical Council for Justice and Peace “We have entered a century in which ideologies would reduce the sense of human person, and distort the relationships with nature. The strong resource competition among peoples in a climate-constrained environment threatens to dissolve the fabric of human society and devastate the very order of creation which Francis of Assisi praised in his Canticle of the Sun. The beautiful song bespeaks an awakening to the universe to be seen not only as a collection of things to be worked and consumed but also as a “community of life” to be entered into profoundly, humbly and creatively”.
Bartholmew I Ecumenical patriarchate of Costantinople “Even today, twenty-five years after the first meeting called by Blessed John Paul II here in Assisi, ten years after the dramatic events of 11 September and when the "Arab spring" has not put an end to the tension between peoples while the place of religion in the ferment taking place in the world remains ambiguous ... We must oppose the deformation of the message of religions and their symbols by the authors of violence”.
Rowan Douglas Williams Anglican primate “All such failures of the spirit have their roots largely in an inability to recognize strangers as sharing with us one and the same nature, one and the same personal dignity. Lasting peace begins when we see the neighbour as another self – and so begin to understand how and why we must love the neighbour as we love ourselves”.
S.E. Norvan Kanzarian Armenian apostolic primate of France “Mutual forgiveness must not suppress the demands of justice or even less block the path that leads to truth, justice and truth rather represent the actual conditions of reconciliation”.
Rev. Dott Olav Fykse Tveit Secretary General of the World Council of Churches “For the World Council of Churches a clear commitment over the coming years is to work for just peace in Jerusalem and all the peoples living there and around that city with Shalom – Salaamin its name. It is the city called and named to be a vision of peace, but which throughout history has so often become a place of conflict ”.
Rabbi David Rosen International Director of Interreligious Affairs, AJC “…There is a very well known comment of the great rabbi Meir Simcha of Dwinsk, who lived a hundred years ago. He observed that this vision of peace had already taken place in the religious history of humankind – in Noah’s ark. Already there, predatory animals had to live a vegetarian existence and their potential prey could live in peace. However he points out that the profound difference between the situation in Noah’s ark and Isaiah’s vision, is that in Noah’s ark there was no choice. This was the only option available for the animals in order to survive the flood. Isaiah’s vision however, is born out of “the knowledge of the Lord”; it is a vision that emanates from the deepest spiritual understanding and volition”.
Wande Abimbola Spokesperson of Ifu and Yoruba Religion in the World “To respect our fellow men and women is not enough. We need also to develop a profound respect for nature. Unless and until nature, our Mother, is given her due regard and honor in our thoughts and actions, human beings cannot find the true peace and tranquility which we are all looking for. What is even more, if we continue on the same path of disrespect and destruction of nature on which we have trodden for centuries, that path can only lead to disaster”.
Acharya Shri Shrivatsa Goswami Representative of Hindu Religion “Hinduism is a pilgrimage from ignorance to truth, from death to immortality. This journey is of two kinds. Moving outside, we search for the truth that can be manifest in the physical world. We seek to strengthen ecological, social and economic systems. The equitable distribution of food and other material resources is the highest religious virtue and practice. Yet, there is the”.
Ja-Seung President of the “Jogye Order”, Korean Buddhism “Just as there are varieties of flowers that blossom and wither away, you and I will also blossom and wither. But each of our lives is precious, a beautiful flower that turns the world into a single flower and makes it a glorious and magnificent place. Just like these flowers, every sentient being is beautiful and must be respected. There is no place for violence and terrorism in religion, which insists that every life is precious and must be cherished”.
Kyai Haji Hasyim Muzadi The General Secretary of International Conference of Islamic Scholars (ICIS),
and The Former Chairman of Nabdlatul Ulama (NU) “A mistake in understanding religious comprehension no doubt has caused a misapplication of that religion itself… In this regards, we must identify religion above all interests. Should religion be placed above such interests, then it will serve as a beacon of hope from its forefathers. On the other hand, if religions are placed below such interests, then the religious community will forever be at war ”.