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Dialog is the True Alternative to War

by Krakau meeting Monday, Sep. 28, 2009 at 4:35 AM

Our world has lost orientation in a crisis of the market that believed itself omnipotent. A world without spirit is never human. Spirit and dialog give a soul to this global world. Violence and terror always mean defeat for humanity.


Peace appeal of representatives of the world religions, Krakau, September 6-8, 2009

[This appeal is translated from the German on the Internet, The meeting of representatives of the world religions took place in Krakau, Poland in September 2009.]

Seventy years after the beginning of the Second World War, we representatives of different religions meet in the ancient city of Krakau to pray, promote dialogue and strengthen a peaceful humanism. We thankfully remember John Paul II, as son of this city. He was a master of dialogue and a faithful witness for the holiness of peace. He had the ability to demonstrate a vision in hard times: the spirit of Assisi. The blowing of this spirit appeared in many peaceful changes of the world as when Poland and Eastern Europe rediscovered their freedom twenty years ago in 1989. In September 1989 representatives of different religions met in Warsaw on invitation of the Sant Egidio spiritual community and loudly proclaimed their love for peace: “War Never Again!” We remain faithful to this spirit although the opinion that violence and war could solve the problems and conflicts of our world was widespread in the last years.

Time and again the bitter lesson of the Second World War falls into oblivion although this war was a terrible tragedy in the history of humanity. Conscious that humanity fell in the deepest abyss in Auschwitz, we journeyed as pilgrims to this place. To understand history in its depth, we must descend in this abyss of evil! May this great suffering never be forgotten!

Behold the suffering of this world: people who live in war, the poor, the horrors of terrorism and the victims of hatred and violence. We have heard the cries of the many sufferers. Whole nations are hostages of war and poverty. Countless people had to leave their homes. Many are missing or abducted and live in uncertainty.

Our world has lost orientation in a crisis of the market that believed itself omnipotent and was often without a soul and a face through globalization. Globalization is an historical chance, even if frequently seen under the aspect of the struggle of cultures and religions. If dialogue among the nations dies, peace for the world is impossible. No person and no nation is an island!

Mindful of their differences, our religious traditions say with a loud voice that a world without spirit is never human. They know the way of return to God, the origin of peace.

Spirit and dialogue give a soul to this global world. If dialogue is refused, hatred and fear of the other will rule the world. The religions do not want war or to be misused for war. Championing war in God’s name is blasphemy. No war is ever holy. Violence and terror always mean defeat for humanity.

Spirit and dialogue point the way to peaceful cooperation. With great conviction, we recognize dialogue liberates from fear and mistrust toward fellow persons. Dialogue is the true alternative to war. Identity is not weakened in any way by dialogue. Rather discourse enables us to discover the good in others and ourselves. Carrying on dialogue never signifies weakening or loss. Dialogue writes the better history while battle leads to the abyss. Dialogue is the art of life together. Dialogue is the gift we would give to the 21st century.

Starting from the remembrance of the Second World War and from John Paul II’s prophecy, we set out as pilgrims on the way of peace. With patience and faithfulness, we champion a new age of dialogue in which all people who hate or refuse to see themselves are united in peace, all nations and all people. May God give the wondrous gift of peace to the whole world, all men and women.

Note: Every year since 1986 on the impulse of Pope John Paul II, the Sant Egidio spiritual community of the Roman Catholic Church has organized a peace meeting of the world religions. The meeting occurred this year in Polish Krakau.


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