Pope: Christian Peace Could Avert "the Clash"

Says Religious and Political Leaders See Need for the Faith

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VATICAN CITY, APRIL 17, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI says that the peace promoted by the Christian faith is key to avoiding the so called clash of civilizations.



The Pope said this on Monday, his birthday, in the meeting he had with Cardinal Friedrich Wetter, retired archbishop of Munich, who was accompanied by 50 delegates. Cardinal Wetter succeeded Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who led the archdiocese from 1977 to 1982.

The Holy Father told them briefly about the audience he had just had with Edmund Stoiber, minister-president of the Pope's native Bavaria, and Peter Harry Carstensen, minister-president of Schleswig-Holstein.

The Pontiff said: "Despite the environments from which the two come, and their notably different temperaments, both of them showed an interior certainty that the faith opens a future, and that in this moment of encounter between cultures, as well as in the impending clash between them, it is highly important that the interior, peaceful and renewing strength of the Christian faith stays alive in our culture, thereby acting as a positive influence on the future."

Benedict XVI also spoke of the audience he'd had with Orthodox Metropolitan Ioannis Zizioulas of Pergamum, a delegate from the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople.

"He is supported by a deep interior conviction that the meeting between Rome and Orthodoxy is fundamentally important for the European continent and the future of the universe," the Pope said.

The Holy Father added that Metropolitan Zizioulas, one of Orthodoxy's prominent theologians, commented: "We have to make every possible effort so that this encounter truly leads us to fraternal communion, so that later, the blessing of communion in faith can be born from it: the blessing that will allow humanity to see that we are 'one' and believe in Christ."

"I think that is the mission we all have," Benedict XVI asserted, "committing ourselves, each one according to his condition of life, so that the strength of the faith becomes operative in this world, becomes efficacious as joy, trust and gift in this moment."