The concert for reconciliation between Jews, Christians and Moslems

Source: FSSPX News


On Saturday January 17, John-Paul II attended the concert, which took place in the Vatican "for the reconciliation of Jews, Christians and Moslems". The two chief rabbis of Israel, Yona Metzger and Shlomo Amar, as well as some Italian Moslem representatives, were also present.

The event, which took place in the Paul VI Hall, was organized by the Pontifical Councils for Interreligious Dialogue and the Promotion of Christian Unity. "The message of this concert is that religion, if it wants to be faithful to itself, must always promote kindness, comprehension, and harmony between peoples throughout the entire world", affirmed Msgr. Brian Farrell, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, on the airwaves of Radio Vatican. This message is a "truth reaffirmed by the pope for years". "It is thus necessary that the fundamental fact that God always wants justice and the defense of the dignity of the person, is clear for the religions and especially for religious leaders", he explained. "All that deviates from it is an offence to religion, an offence to the person, an offence to God Himself".

The concert, directed by conductor Gilbert Levine at the head of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, had on its program the 2nd Symphony of Gustav Mahler entitled "Resurrection", as well as a Symphony by John Harbison with its sacred moment, "Abraham". According to Msgr. Brian Farrell, for the three great monotheistic religions, "it is a message of faith". "Abraham is a patriarch who gives an answer to God, who makes Himself present and asks him to follow a way of personal honesty and confidence in the Lord. Abraham is one who becomes the friend of God by his fidelity ".

It was the Knights of Colombus - a powerful foundation of American origin - who financed the event. The Italian channel RAI will rebroadcast the concert. "That will make it possible to show the program in other countries, and to strongly affirm there the need for reconciliation between peoples and religions", concluded the secretary of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity.

The Vatican affirmed that the American ambassador James Nicholson conceived this concert, before the Roman dicasteries got implicated, and expressed regret at the weak Moslem participation.

The speech of the Holy Father

"Today, the pressing need is felt for a sincere reconciliation between believers in the single God". Such were the words pronounced by the pope at the end of the concert. "The history of the relationship between Hebrews, Christians and Moslems is made of shadows and light, and has unfortunately known painful moments", he explained. "This evening, we have come together to give a concrete expression to this engagement of reconciliation, entrusting it to the universal message music".

"The warning has been pointed out to us "I am the Almighty God: walk before me with integrity" (Genesis 17:1). Each human being feels these words resounding in him: he knows that one day he will have to give an account to God who from on high observes the way on the Earth". For the pope, "the wish" expressed by the many participants from every denomination at the concert, "is that men may be purified of hatred and evil which threaten peace continuously, and that they know how to reach out to each other forgetting violence and ready to offer assistance and comfort to those who need it".

Jean-Paul II continued by recalling that for Jews, as for Christians and Moslems, "God is good" and that He is the "source of life" for the human person. For him, "nourished by these convictions", these believers "cannot accept that the Earth know the plague of hatred and that humanity is found implicated in endless wars ". The pope concluded his message with a call to peace. "Yes! We must find in us the courage of peace. We must beseech the Almighty for the gift of peace ", he exclaimed. "And this peace will be spread as a healing balm if we relentlessly follow the path of reconciliation".

Cardinal Walter Kasper, President of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, one of the organizers of the concert, previously addressed the pope, "in the name of all here-present", "particularly to greet", him who "during his twenty-five years as pope worked so hard for the reconciliation of the sons of Abraham". "I point out only some "milestones" on his long road: his visit to the synagogue of Rome and the prayer before the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem; his visit to the Al Azhar University in Cairo and the mosque of Ommeyyades in Damascus", continued the cardinal. "Thank you, Your Holiness, for your courageous example even in the face of contempt, hatred and violence; thank you for your message which exhorts us to reciprocal respect between all men and all religions; thank you for your contribution to peace in the world".