After celebrating an outdoor Mass at the Piazza del Plebiscito in Naples, the Pope met with Jewish, Muslim, Orthodox and Protestant leaders as well as the presidents of numerous African and Latin American countries and some Nobel Peace laureates. He reminded the assembled leaders that religions must never be exploited to promote hatred and violence.
According to Vatican Radio, the representatives of the world’s religions were in Naples to attend the 21st Saint Egidio International Peace Forum that has taken place over the last three days.
Addressing the religious leaders, Pope Benedict said, “Faced with a world torn by conflict, where the name of God is still used to justify violence, it is important to reiterate that religions must never be exploited to promote hatred and violence.” Rather, “religions can and must offer precious resources for the peaceful future of humanity.”
The Holy Father affirmed that the Catholic Church is committed to pursuing peace through dialogue. “The Catholic Church intends to continue follow the path of dialogue to encourage understanding between different cultures and religious traditions.” The Pope prayed that this spirit of dialogue, which was begun by Pope John Paul II at the first gathering for peace in Assisi, “will be spread especially in those areas of the world where tensions prevail, freedoms are denied, and where men and woman suffer the consequences of intolerance and incomprehension.”