ANDREA RICCARDI: “CONFLICTS HAVEN’T WORKED. WE MUST BUILD A CIVILIZATION OF PEACE”DialogueEcumenismMonaco of BavariaSpirit of AssisiAndrea RiccardiPrayer for Peace
MUNICH – Culture of conflict or global compassion? “Between the clash of civilizations and crude globalization, reduced to solely economic terms, stands the wide field of the construction of unity in diversity”, declared the founder of the Community of Sant’Egidio, Andrea Riccardi, opening the International Meeting, ‘Bound to Live Togther’, on the tenth anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center. The Meeting was organized by Sant’Egidio and the Archdiocese of Munich in the spirit of Assisi, created by Pope John Paul II 25 years ago, which will be commemorated in October by Pope Benedict XVI in St. Francis’ city.
According to Riccardi, in the past ten years “the culture of conflict has swelled, also due to the wide-spreading violence in various countries of the world, a fruit of political strife, of mafias, of crime”. The next ten years require an effort of political construction and a renewed political role for Europe, which entails “union among European countries in order to exercise a common responsibility in the world” and not forgoing faith in the Arab spring, which elicits hope. “The life of distant countries has a lot to teach us. Six months have gone by since the terrible cataclysm struckJapan: I would like to express our esteem and admiration to our Japanese friends, whose courageous demeanour has touched us”.
“In the current economic crisis, explained Riccardi, religions can help change mindsets: they remind us that the value of life is not dictated by the sum of a person’s wealth…. Sober consumption makes our spirit more free and opens us up to the needs of others….Religions show that men and women are all making one great journey. It is basic knowledge, as plain as bread and as necessary as water”. In their dialogue with cultures, religions generate feelings of global sympathy and compassion towards the victims, and represent the real response, seemingly weak, to the destructive force of September 11, 2001. Peace is a huge investment, not a luxury, although it might seem as such during times of economic crisis. And that is why “the coming decade cannot be wasted”. And that is why for twenty-five years, year after year, the spirit of Assisi “has kept dialogue open on the themes of spirit and history, preventing it from turning to dust when bridges crumbled or were bombed”.
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