Cardinal: Religions Are Factors of Peace

Dialogue Council President Addresses Rimini Meeting

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By Mirko Test

RIMINI, Italy, AUG. 28, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Religions are factors of peace, and if they inspire fear, it's due to actions of those who have betrayed their faith, said the president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

This was the message Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran communicated Monday at a colloquium on peace at the Rimini meeting organized by the Catholic lay Communion and Liberation movement. The annual meeting is under way through Saturday.

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini and Amre Moussa, secretary-general of the League of Arab States, also took part in the discussion.

In his intervention, Cardinal Tauran specified that "religions are factors of peace," but that the paradox lived today is that "religions inspire fear because of the actions of some believers who have betrayed their own faith."

"The injustices, sicknesses, wars of all sorts is not fate, but the consequence of all our egoism -- personal and collective -- our ignorance, our unacknowledged errors, our inability to draw teaching from experiences, positive and negative, of the past," said the cardinal.

"All religions invite their followers to compassion," he continued. "A believer cannot be indifferent in face of the man who suffers or is the victim of someone stronger than he is."

Cardinal Tauran told the audience that the best strategy for peace begins with education in the family and in schools. He also encouraged religious leaders "to point out [...] the right way."

Prayer

The cardinal noted how often the spiritual patrimony of prayer, which brings together faithful of different religions, is underestimated. "This is why I believe the we believers have the mission to be protagonists of a real and concrete 'pedagogy of peace.'"

He said this pedagogy consists in ensuring the "primacy of the human person over the state and over the economic organization of society; special attention to justice; rejection of war as means to resolve the controversies between states; primacy of law over violence."

Cardinal Tauran emphasized the importance of interreligious dialogue that respects mutual identity and specificity, and the common effort of all the faithful in "mobilizing consciences so that men will finally understand that some cannot be happy without the others, and certainly that some can never be happy against the others!"

"In the end," he continued, "suffice it to remember that God continues to say to Abraham's children: 'Do not kill,' 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'

"Your religion is not genuine if you do not wish the other what you wish for yourself," the cardinal added.

Cardinal Tauran said the message of peace is one which humanity needs, especially the youth. "To these young people, too often heirs without inheritance and builders without models, we must give or give back the pleasure of living and of living together."