.- In a letter sent today by way of Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano, Pope Benedict XVI told participants of the 19th 'International Meeting on Men and Religious' to commit themselves courageously to peace and dialogue, "which alone can enable the future of the planet to be planned with hope."
The theme of the gathering, being held in Lyon, France, is "The courage to forge a spiritual humanism of peace." It is being sponsored by the Rome-based Sant'Egidio Community.
In the message, addressed to Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, archbishop of Lyon, Cardinal Sodano writes that the Holy Father "eagerly unites himself through prayer with all the people gathered to reflect and pray for peace and for friendship among peoples."
He asks, the letter continues, "the men and women of our time, especially the young, to have the courage to commit themselves ever more actively in favor of peace and dialogue, which alone can enable the future of the planet to be planned with hope. Violence, whatever form it takes, cannot be the way to resolve conflicts; it places a heavy mortgage on the future and respects neither individuals nor peoples."
The Pope concluded his text expressing the hope "that the men and women of today may implore the gift of peace from God, trusting in Christ's promise: 'peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you.' Thus, may they be able to accept all the requirements of peace, and become founders of peace."
The 50,000 member Community of Sant'Egidio is a movement of lay people, founded in Rome in 1968, which is committed to evangelization and charity in Italy and around the globe.