Monday, April 25, 2005

English Portion of Address: Meeting with the Representatives....

.....Meeting with the Representatives of the Christian Churches and Ecclesial Communities and other World Religions (April 25, 2005)

I turn now to you, dear friends from different religious traditions, and I thank you sincerely for your presence at the solemn inauguration of my Pontificate. I offer warm and affectionate greetings to you and to all those who belong to the religions that you represent. I am particularly grateful for the presence in our midst of members of the Muslim community, and I express my appreciation for the growth of dialogue between Muslims and Christians, both at the local and international level. I assure you that the Church wants to continue building bridges of friendship with the followers of all religions, in order to seek the true good of every person and of society as a whole.

The world in which we live is often marked by conflicts, violence and war, but it earnestly longs for peace, peace which is above all a gift from God, peace for which we must pray without ceasing. Yet peace is also a duty to which all peoples must be committed, especially those who profess to belong to religious traditions. Our efforts to come together and foster dialogue are a valuable contribution to building peace on solid foundations. Pope John Paul II, my venerable predecessor, wrote at the start of the new Millennium that “the name of the one God must become increasingly what it is: a name of peace and a summons to peace” (Novo Millennio Ineunte, 55). It is therefore imperative to engage in authentic and sincere dialogue, built on respect for the dignity of every human person, created, as we Christians firmly believe, in the image and likeness of God (cf. Gen 1:26-27).

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