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Pope: religion calls us to build bridges - not incite violence

Pope John Paul II has called on religious leaders not to use the name of God to incite violence, speaking on Tuesday to a gathering promoted by the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue and the Iranian-based Organisation for Islamic Culture and Communications.

The Holy Father said: "Today there is an especially urgent need for dialogue, understanding and cooperation between the world's great religions, especially Christianity and Islam."

The topic was Truth, Justice, Love, Freedom: Pillars of peace. The Pope greeted Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata, secretary of the dicastery, and Ayatola Mahmood Mohammadi Araqi, head of the organisation who led a group of eight representatives.

He said religion is "called" to build bridges between individuals, peoples and cultures, to be a sign of hope for humanity.

"I appeal to you, and to all men and women of good will, to join your voices with mine as I repeat that the holy name of God must never be used to incite violence or terrorism, to promote hatred or exclusion."

"I am confident," he concluded, "that your continued dialogue and cooperation, of which this Colloquium is an eloquent example, will do much to help Christians and Muslims to be ever more effective instruments of peace in our world."

Pope: religion calls us to build bridges - not incite violence (VIS/Independent Catholic News 3/12/03)

Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue
Never use God's name to incite violence, Pope insists (Catholic World News 3/12/03)
Pope holds 1,110th weekly audience (Catholic World News 3/12/03)
Pope hails Iran's religious efforts ( 3/12/03)
Pope Condemns Violence in Name of God (Zenit 2/12/03)
Reader's Digest Names John Paul II: A Light For The World 'Editors' Choice' For December (US Conference of Catholic Bishops)

4 Dec 2003