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To Cardinal Lluís Martínez Sistach
Archbishop of Barcelona

Dear Cardinal,

On the occasion of the International Meeting of Prayer for Peace, organised by the Community of Sant’Egidio in collaboration with the Archbishop of Barcelona, Pope Benedict XVI asked me to convey his loving greetings to You, as well as to all the participants to this event.

In this difficult time of crisis and conflict, worsened by the increasing extent of the globalization, religions are called to realise their special vocation of service to peace and coexistence. All peoples, in order to live as an authentic community of brothers and sisters, need to be inspired and supported by the common foundation of spiritual and ethic values. In recognising God as the source of the existence of every person, religions help society as a whole to promote the inviolable dignity of every human being. “By going back to this supreme principle we are able to perceive the unconditional worth of each human being, and thus to lay the premises for building a humanity at peace” (Benedict XVI, Message for the World Day of Peace 2008, n. 6).

Likewise, the selfless service of peace requires all believers to undertake the inescapable priority of prayer as a commitment. Indeed, “if peace is God’s gift and has its source in him, where are we to seek it and how can we build it, if not in a deep and intimate relationship with God? (John Paul II, Speech in Assisi, 24th January 2002). In prayer we are also given the chance to learn the language of peace and respect, fortifying the seed of peace God himself has sown in the hearts of men and women, which stands, regardless of all differences of race, culture and religion, as the deepest yearning of all human beings. At the same time, in prayer we can find new spiritual energies that prevent us from being conquered by difficulties and by the snares of evil, from losing heart in the necessary path of dialogue, which may then definitively drive away misunderstandings and distrust, and allow us to continue and build, as brothers and sisters, members of the same human family, the path of harmonious coexistence.

The Holy Father entrusts to the Most High all the participants to this International Meeting of Prayer for Peace, for this commendable initiative to attain abundant fruits and pour upon everyone God’s plentiful blessings.

While I join the Holy Father in these wishes, I take the opportunity, dear Cardinal, to convey You my feelings of consideration and brotherly esteem in Christ.

Vatican, 28th September 2010

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone
Secretary of State of His Holiness