Pope Hosts Global Inter-Religious Meeting

Posted October 27th, 2011 at 12:00 pm (UTC-5)
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Pope Benedict has joined 300 religious leaders from around the world at a global inter-religious meeting in northern Italy to make a common call for peace and renounce terrorism and violence in the name of religion.

The gathering Thursday in Assisi, the birthplace of St. Francis, comes on the 25th anniversary of a call by Benedict's predecessor, Pope John Paul, for a day-long prayer for peace. It was attended by religious representatives, ranging from Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and Jews, to followers of Taoism, Confucianism and representatives of traditional religions from Africa and the United States.

The General Secretary of the International Conference of Islamic Scholars says religion is not the cause of the Earth's problems.

Pope Benedict acknowledged that violence had been used in the name of the Christian faith in the past.

The Assisi gathering differed from John Paul's interfaith meeting in 1986 as it did not include common prayers among the delegates. Pope Benedict disapproves of members of different faiths praying in the presence of one another, so Thursday's meeting had the participants pray in separate areas.

Traditional Catholics condemned the meeting, as they did in 1986, saying they were against the pope inviting leaders of “false” religions to pray to their Gods for peace.

Pope Benedict had objected to and did not attend the original 1986 event when he was a cardinal.