The letter, sent today, was dated Feb. 24, exactly one month after the prayer summit held in St. Francis´ city. The "Decalogue" was proclaimed at the end of the largest meeting of religious leaders in history, called in response to the terrorist attacks on the United States and their aftermath.
The document was read by Christians of different confessions, and by Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs and representatives of African and Asian traditional religions, among others. It begins by stating "that violence and terrorism are incompatible with the authentic Spirit of religion."
In his letter, John Paul II expresses his conviction that "these ten propositions will be able to inspire the political and social action" of governments.
"I was able to witness that the participants in the Assisi meeting were more committed than ever to the common conviction that humanity must choose between love and hatred," the Bishop of Rome wrote.
His letter expresses the hope that "the spirit and commitment of Assisi will lead all men of good will to the search for truth, justice, liberty, love so that every human person will be able to enjoy his/her inalienable rights, and every nation, peace."
The Holy Father emphasized that the Catholic Church "will continue to be committed so that loyal dialogue, reciprocal forgiveness and mutual concord will guide the course of men in this third millennium."
Among other things, in the Assisi Decalogue the religious leaders commit themselves "to taking the side of the poor and the helpless, to speaking out for those who have no voice, and to working effectively to change these situations, out of the conviction that no one can be happy alone."