Vatican City, 30 September 2013 (VIS) – Today in the apostolic palace the Holy Father received in audience participants in the international meeting for peace organised by the St. Egidio Community. The meeting, held in Rome from 29 September to 1 October, is entitled “Courage and Hope: religions and cultures in dialogue”. Francis mentioned John Paul II's invitation in Assisi to religious leaders to pray for peace not one against the other, but rather alongside each other, and praised the St. Egidio Community for continuing along this path and ensuring that this did not remain an isolated event. “You have gained pace”, he said, “with the participation of important figures from all religions and from lay representatives and humanists”.
The Pope underlined that “there is no religious justification for violence”, and, as emphasised by Benedict XVI two years ago, “it is necessary to eliminate every form of violence motivated by religion, and to keep vigil together to ensure that the world no longer falls prey to the violence inherent in every plan for civilisation that is based on a 'no' to God”.
The Pope emphasised that peace is the responsibility of all, and that a religious leader is a man of peace, because “the commandment of peace is inscribed in the depths of religious traditions”. He also remarked that “Peace requires tenacious, patient, strong, intelligent dialogue, for which nothing is lost. Dialogue can win over war. Dialogue enables people of different generations, who often ignore each other, to live together; it enables the co-existence of citizens of different ethnic origins, of different convictions. Dialogue is the way of peace”.
The Pope described religious leaders as “dialoguers”, working to build peace; not as intermediaries seeking benefit, but rather as authentic mediators with peace as their ultimate goal. In conclusion, he encouraged them to continue their work, as “this courage of peace gives the courage of hope to the world”.