Interfaith summit condemns abuse of religion

In a statement addressed to G8 leaders who will meet in Moscow next week, the World Summit of Religious Leaders has passed a resolution condemning the abuse of religion and the loss of moral values in the modern world.

Ecumenical News International reports that the largest interfaith gathering to convene in Russia since the time of the Cold War, has closed by condemning terrorism, economic inequality, environmental abuses and the denigration of moral values in the modern world.

"We condemn terrorism and extremism in any form, as well as attempts to justify them by religion," reads the statement, passed without a formal vote, but with no one in the 5 July final plenary session objecting to the text.

"We deplore the activities of pseudo-religious groups and movements destroying freedom and health of people as well as the ethical climate in societies," the text continued.

The statement is addressed to the leaders of the Group of Eight (G8) countries, who gather in St Petersburg from 15 to 17 July. Russia holds the G8 presidency this year and in his address to the religion summit's participants on 3 July, Russian President Vladimir Putin promised to bring the final document to the attention of the leaders of world's leading industrial nations.

Nearly 300 delegates, including leaders and representatives of religious communities from 49 countries attended the event organised by the Russian Orthodox Church.

The Vatican sent a large delegation led by Cardinal Walter Kasper, signalling a notable thaw in relations between the Moscow Patriarchate and the Holy See.

"I met with Patriarch Alexei yesterday," Cardinal Kasper told Ecumenical News International.

Cardinal Kasper called the fellowship in hallways and at mealtimes an essential feature of such interfaith dialogue. "You shouldn't under-evaluate this," he said.

The summit's resolution did not refer to specific countries or crises, but acute issues related to the Middle East were raised in speeches and at the news conference.

World religious leaders at Moscow summit denounce terrorism (Ecumenical News International 7/7/06)
Message of the World Summit of Religious Leaders (Interfax Religion 5/7/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Address of the Holy Father Pope John Paul II to the participants of an interfaith meeting (Holy See 28/10/88)
Address of the Holy Father Pope John Paul II to the participants in the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue (Holy See 15/5/04)

Cardinal Kasper joins landmark interfaith summit (CathNews 4/7/06)

7 Jul 2006