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Pope Francis in Assisi: "Peace alone, and not war, is holy!"

2016-09-20

After each praying in their own tradition, the religious leaders once again gathered outside the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi.

The 500 participants heard the testimony of this woman who escaped from the war in Syria. She is from Aleppo, and recalled how before the war Muslims and Christians lived in peace.

TAMAR
"Aleppo, when I pronounce this name, my heart shrinks. I remember where I was born, where I grew up and where I married..."

The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople said this meeting was not a simple commemoration of what took place 30 years ago, but is a renewed commitment for peace.

BARTHOLOMEW I
Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople
"There can be no peace without respect and mutual recognition. There can be no peace without justice."

Other speakers included: Rabbi David Brodman, who survived the Holocaust; Muslim Din Syamsuddin Mullah from Indonesia, the country with the most Muslims in the world, and also Buddhist Morikawa Tendaizasu.

The pope was the last religious leader who delivered a speech. First, he explained the meaning of this meeting.

POPE FRANCIS
"Our religious traditions are diverse. But our differences are not the cause of conflict and provocation, or a cold distance between us. We have not prayed against one another today, as has sometimes unfortunately occurred in history. Without syncretism or relativism, we have rather prayed side-by-side and for each other."

Then, he warned thousands of people of faith about the danger of a special paganism, which infiltrates between religions: through indifference to the suffering of others.

POPE FRANCIS
"It is a virus that paralyzes, rendering us lethargic and insensitive, a disease that eats away at the very heart of religious fervour, giving rise to a new and deeply sad paganism: the paganism of indifference."

The pope pledged that no tragedy would be forgotten. He said that religious leaders give a voice to those who suffer, to those who have no voice or are not listened to. He also asked that religion is not used to justify war.

POPE FRANCIS
"We must never tire of repeating that the name of God cannot be used to justify violence. Peace alone, and not war, is holy! Our future consists in living together. For this reason we are called to free ourselves from the heavy burdens of distrust, fundamentalism and hatred."

Attendees shared in a moment of silence for all the victims of wars, and then participated in signing a declaration for peace in the world.

It was a commitment that was given to this group of children, because the future that is built today, will be their present tomorrow.


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