Cardinal Levada Clarifies Assisi Event

Says the Path of Peace Is the Church's Path

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VATICAN CITY, JULY 8, 2011 (Zenit.org).- The prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is offering a clarification on the upcoming meeting in Assisi, where Benedict XVI will gather with representatives of the world's religions and non-believers to promote justice and peace.

The meeting, to be held in October, follows upon two similar events hosted by Blessed John Paul II. All three of the meetings have caused a stir among certain ecclesial circles, with some people accusing the Popes of syncretism, or giving the impression that all religions are equal.

Cardinal William Levada, who succeeded the German Pontiff in heading the doctrinal congregation, acknowledged the misinterpretations that have been leveled against the Popes. And he questions why Benedict XVI would carry on with the initiative in such a context.

"In short it is not a question of hiding the faith for the sake of a superficial unity, but of confessing -- as John Paul II and the Ecumenical Patriarch then did -- that Christ is our peace, and that precisely because of this the path of peace is the path of the Church," the cardinal said.

In his statement, published Wednesday, Cardinal Levada draws from then-Cardinal Ratzinger's reflections as well as the Second Vatican Council in clarifying the intention of the Assisi event.

"Because 'all men are called to union with Christ' (Lumen Gentium, 3), the Church must be leaven of this unity for the whole of humanity: not only with the proclamation of the Word of God, but with the lived testimony of the profound union of Christians with God. This is the authentic path of peace," he noted.

Moreover, the cardinal added, "the title chosen for the next Day of Assisi -- Pilgrims of Truth, Pilgrims of Peace -- gives us a second indication [as to the motives]: to be able realistically to hope in the building together of peace, it is necessary to put truth as criterion."

"The original bond between ethos and logos, and between religion and reason, lies ultimately in Christ, the divine Logos: precisely because of this, Christianity is able to restore this bond to the world," he said.

"Peace without truth is not possible," Cardinal Levada stated, and the flip-side is also true: "the attitude to peace constitutes an authentic 'criterion of truth.'"

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Full text: www.zenit.org/article-33027?l=english