EUROPE/GERMANY - S. EGIDIO MEETING CLOSES: “DIALOGUE NEEDS STRONG HEARTS” SUGGESTED A COMMON CELEBRATION AMONG CHRISTIAN CHURCHES TO COMMEMORATE MARTYRS OF 20TH CENTURY – APPEAL FOR PEACE: “DIALOGUE IS NOT FOR THE FEARFUL”
Aachen (Fides Service) – At the final press conference for the Interreligious Meeting in Aachen, the founder of the S. Egidio Community, Andrea Riccardi, thanked the Germans for their participation and announced that during the meeting there emerged a suggestion to find a date on which to hold a regular common commemoration of Christian Martyrs of the 20th Century. Speaking of the serene dialogue among participants during the Meeting, Riccardi said: “It is not heaven on earth. Dialogue does not mean side stepping problems, it is frank exchange and the will to remove difficulties.” Too often dialogue, not only at the religious level but also political, has no heart: “We cannot speak of Africa or the war in Palestine without feeling emotion and a little despair.”.
Commenting the presence of Orthodox Metropolita Kyrill from the Patriarchate of Moscow, Riccardi said he felt that Catholic Orthodox relations are “warming” and he recalled that S. Egidio has always been closely connected with the Russian Church, a “Church of martyrs”, “whose primacy is unenviable and undeniable, it must be recognised. Relations with Moscow is a necessity for Catholicism and, as Cardinal Kasper said, separation prevents us from achieving full catholicity.”
At the end of the Meeting the participants signed an Appeal for Peace in which they say: “peace lies deep in our traditions, peace is another name for God” and this calls for decisions to undertake “once again the difficult path of dialogue in a world which seems to prefer war”.
Here are some points from the appeal: Dialogue leads to peace. It is an art which pulls away from pessimism. Dialogue can save the world from war. It does not weaken the identity, but helps each person to see the other better and to see themselves. Dialogue is a medicine for wounds and it opens the way to the only destiny possible for peoples and religions: to live together on this planet which is to be protected and offered to future generations a better place to live in.
Religion never not justifies hatred and violence. Fundamentalism is a childhood sickness of all religions and all cultures and it renders them prisoners of a culture of the enemy, separates from others and values violence more than peace. SL (Fides Service 10/9/2003 EM lines 32 Words: 421)
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