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Religious leaders see role for nonbelievers

World leaders have concluded a three-day meeting in Palermo, Italy, with a resolve to include nonbelievers in the quest for world peace.

More than 400 representatives of communities of believers converged on Palermo's Politeama Square after they prayed with members of their own faiths at separate sites around the city.

They put forward the 2002 Appeal for Peace, in which they said "the pain of the world imposes on us to seek together, believers and nonbelievers, the ways of peace and solidarity."

The annual meeting, organised by the lay movement Community of Sant'Egidio, focused on the implications of the 11 September terrorist attacks.

The participants said the "whole world has need of hope: the hope of being able to live with the other, the hope of not being dominated by the memory of the damages suffered, the hope of constructing a world in which everyone can live with dignity."

"Globalisation cannot just be the free circulation of goods; it must also be the globalisation of solidarity, of dialogue, of justice and of security for all," their statement added.

Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, attended the meeting. John Paul II sent a personal message for the event.

Other participants included a delegation of the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church, Rabbi Rene Samuel Sirat of the Conference of Rabbis of Europe, and Mohammed Amine Samili, a Muslim theologian from Morocco.

Community of Sant'Egidio | Faiths and Cultures within Conflict and Dialogue (Palermo 1-3 Sep 02)


5 Sep 2002