Men and women of different religions, we have gathered together in Munich in Bavaria upon the invitation of the Archdiocese of Munich-Freising and of the Community of Sant’Egidio, which has tenaciously carried on the “Spirit of Assisi” for 25 years. We are grateful to those who have kept this hope alive in difficult times, while bridges were falling apart. After ten years marked by the culture of violence and the madness of terrorism, in a world seemingly dominated by unregulated capitalism, we paused simply to pray, to listen and to scrutinize the future. These moments of prayer and dialogue have changed us! We heeded the request for a new era rising from the witness of many people.
The temptation to withdraw into oneself and use religions to separate from each other is powerful. This temptation is worsened by the crisis of the world economy. The world sometimes seems to be unaware of its limits. It is often more attracted by what divides than by friendliness for the other; it pays more attention to the motives of the ego than to the common good. In many areas of the world violence and lack of meaning are growing. We need a turning point!
Globalization, a great resource in itself, is in need of a soul. Selfishness leads to a civilization of death which also causes the death of many people. We must therefore look up, open up to the future, and become capable of globalizing justice. We need to raise the issue of peace once again, with determination and in all its dimensions. Indeed, we are bound to live together and we are all responsible for the art of coexistence. Dialogue proves today to be the most intelligent and peaceful weapon. It is the response to the preachers of terror, who even use religious words to spread hatred and divide the world. Nothing is lost with dialogue. Here in Munich we have tested the language of dialogue and friendship; no man, no woman, no people is an island: there is only one destiny, a common destiny.
Let us look at each other with new friendliness, and so much will be possible again, everything will be. It is time to change. The world needs more hope and more peace. We can learn again to live not one against the other, but one with the other. We are aware of the responsibilities of religions in endangering peace when they did not turn and look upwards. Whoever uses the name of God to hate the other and kill is cursing the Holy Name of God. Therefore we can proclaim: there is no future in war! There is no alternative to dialogue. Dialogue is a simple weapon, available to everyone. With dialogue we shall build a new decade and a century of peace. Let us all become artisans of peace. Yes, may God grant the world the wonderful gift of peace.
Munich, 13th September 2011