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Faiths Can’t be Ignored

ASSISI, Italy (CNS): Violence and terrorism are incompatible with the faith and belief of all the world’s religions, more than 200 spiritual leaders said during a January 24 meeting with Pope John Paul II in Assisi, Italy.

Since the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, the Pope said, religious leaders have wanted to do their part to fend off “the dark clouds of terrorism, hatred (and) armed conflict”.

In his midday Angelus address last Sunday, Pope John Paul said the day-long interreligious pilgrimage to the birthplace of St Francis of Assisi marked “another milestone on the path of building a civilisation of peace and love”.

The Assisi gathering brought together Christians from 16 Churches and communities, 30 Muslim clerics from 18 nations, 10 rabbis, and representatives from Buddhism, Tenrikyo, Shintoism, Jainism, Sikhism, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Confucianism and traditional African religions.

“Violence never again,” the Pope said at the end of the afternoon meeting.

“War never again. Terrorism never again,” he said.

“In the name of God, may every religion bring upon the earth justice and peace, forgiveness and life, love,” the 81 year-old Pope said before his guests set lighted glass and terracotta oil lamps on a large table as a sign of hope.

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