Pontiff Urges Positive Role in Coexistence

In Message to Spain's Social Weeks

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 3, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Coexistence of races and cultures entails more than lack of discrimination, it demands a positive effort of collaboration, says a papal message.



The letter was sent in Benedict XVI's name by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican secretary of state, to José Tomás Raga Gil, president of Spain's Social Weeks, on the occasion of the 40th edition of the national meetings.

The four-day event is being held in Toledo, Spain, through Sunday on the theme "Christian Proposals for a Culture of Coexistence."

In the note the cardinal praises the theme of the current Social Weeks, which date back to 1906 in Spain: It "highlights the novelty of a situation that is regarded in this third millennium as one of the main challenges for the whole human community, in which there is a growing presence of citizens with different cultures and religious beliefs within the same social nucleus."

Cardinal Bertone acknowledged that coexistence "is a delicate question, often permeated with misunderstandings or emotional positions, in which undue simplifications are not lacking either."

He said the term coexistence "expresses the intention not to be content with generic tolerance, lack of discrimination or the marginalization of profound values and ideals which, more than other things, mark the identity of individuals and groups."

The Vatican secretary of state added: "Respect for diversity is not submission nor must it block the way to friendship, concord and collaboration in that which is common to all and, above all, to the common good."