Pope laments 'clash of civilisations'
Pope John Paul II has regretted the terrorism and violence that is sweeping the world, referring to a "clash of civilisations that at times seems inevitable".
"Violence, terrorism, war do no more than build new walls between peoples," he said.
Speaking at the Pontifical Urban University on Friday, the Holy Father urged students to have "an open sensitivity to the values of various cultures in relation to the evangelical message."
"Without renouncing the affirmation of the force of the evangelical message, it is an important work in the torn world of today that Christians be men of dialogue and work against that clash of civilisations that at times seems inevitable."
The Pope told the audience that these are not easy times.
"Violence, terrorism and war only build new walls between people," he said.
He proposed that the Urban University be distinguished "among the other universities in Rome precisely for its special attention to peoples' cultures and to the great world religions, beginning with Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism."
The thousands of students who attend the Urban University come from 110 countries. The university has 90 affiliated institutes in more than 40 countries.
Pontifical Urban University
Pontifical Urban University: sensitivity to different cultures (Vatican Information Service)
3 Dec 2002