Message from the Pope to 500 religious leaders brought together by the Sant’Egidio community

Source: FSSPX News


The community of Sant’Egidio held its 17th international meeting “Man and Religions”, September 7-9 in Aix-la-Chapelle (Germany), on the theme “Between war and peace: the meeting of religions”. Since 1987, following the interreligious gathering at Assisi, this community, presided over by the historian Andrea Riccardi, invites representatives of different denominations to “a great meeting of dialogue and prayer for peace” each year. This year, around thirty forums have brought together fifteen cardinals and patriarchs of the Catholic Church, the secretary general of the Ecumenical Council of Churches, Konrad Reiser, as well as representatives from the world of Buddhists, Hinduists, Zoroastrians and Shintoists. The objective being “to pave the way for collaboration, and to confront together the common themes in differing cultural and religious contexts”.(sic)

On this occasion, John Paul II sent a message in which he painted a particularly gloomy picture of the international situation. Two years after the September 11 attack on the U.S., the Pope wrote: “Unfortunately, at the same time as these towers, it could be said that many hopes of peace were also shattered”. Whereas, in Assisi in 1986 “hopes of peace flickered in our hearts, unfortunately that momentum has not been taken up with the necessary speed and care,” said the Holy Father. Deploring the fact that in recent years, “personal interests had prevailed” over the defense of peace, he denounced in particular the “development of self-centered passions among nations and ethnic groups.”

He insisted on the necessity of never forgetting the Christian roots of Europe: “I am convinced that Europe, firmly anchored in her roots, will accelerate the process of internal union and thus make her indispensable contribution to progress and peace between all peoples of the world”. He concluded: “With prayer and dialogue as our weapons, we will be on the road to the future.”

In response to this pacifist optimism, the Turkish minister for religious affairs, Mehemet Aydin, during one of these forums returned to the controversy, concerning the inscription of Christian roots into the future Constitution, saying “Basic religious values belong to us all …. over and above whether or not they are expressly written” – In other words, beyond the question of whether they are explicitly cited in the constitution. Moreover, to clear up any doubts, the Turkish president, Tayyip Erdogan, affirmed as early as September 3, that “if the notion of religion were included in the Constitution, it would be in contradiction with the principles and the progress made by Europe down through the centuries.”