Pope invites world religions to January peace summit
Pope John Paul yesterday called leaders of all the world's religions to a summit in January to pray for peace and to work to overcome armed conflict at what he said was an historic moment for humanity.
The Pope said he hoped the 24 January meeting in the Italian hill city of Assisi, birthplace of St Francis, would be particularly helpful to improve relations between Christians and Muslims following the 11 September attacks on the United States.
The Pope, speaking to pilgrims in St Peter's Square, said the international situation was very worrying.
"We cannot forget the heavy sufferings that have been inflicted and continue to be inflicted on our brothers and sisters in the world," he said. "(There were) thousands of innocent victims in the very grave attacks on 11 September; numerous people are (now) forced to abandon their homes to face the unknown, sometimes a cruel death; women, elderly and children exposed to the risk of dying of cold and hunger."
The Pope hosted a landmark meeting in Assisi on 27 October 1986, which was attended by Muslims, Jews, the Dalai Lama, Anglicans, Protestants and even Native American Indians.