“Religions, with their spiritual and moral resources, have a specific and unique role to play in building peace,” Pope Francis said on Wednesday. “They cannot be neutral, much less ambiguous, where peace is concerned,” he told a delegation of 80 members of “Religions for Peace”, who met him in the Vatican.
Religions for Peace is the world’s largest and most representative multi-religious coalition that advances common action among the world’s religious communities to transform violent conflict, advance human development, promote just and harmonious societies, and protect the earth.
Peace and justice
Noting that “peace is both a divine gift and a human achievement,” the Pope said “believers of all religions are called to implore peace and to intercede for it.” He stressed that “peacemaking and the pursuit of justice go together,” and said that “all men and women of good will, particularly those in positions of responsibility, are summoned to work for peace with their hearts, minds and hands.”
Violence in God’s name
Pope Francis once again denounced violence in the name of religion saying, “they gravely offend God, who is peace and the source of peace, and has left in human beings a reflection of his wisdom, power and beauty.”
Care for creation
The Pontiff expressed appreciation for the efforts of Religions for Peace, saying “religions are bound by their very nature to promote peace through justice, fraternity, disarmament and care for creation.” He said there is a “need for a common and cooperative effort on the part of the religions in promoting an integral ecology.” Religions, he noted have the “wherewithal to further a moral covenant that can promote respect for the dignity of the human person and care for creation.”
The Pope expressed satisfaction that there are many examples of the power of interreligious cooperation around the world that oppose violent conflicts, advance sustainable development and protect the earth.