Tuesday, August 07, 2007

What Price Peace?

Peace is God's gift that requires human cooperation, pope says

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Prayers for peace demonstrate a recognition that peace is a gift of God that requires human cooperation, Pope Benedict XVI said in a message to a summit of religious leaders meeting on Mount Hiei in Japan.

"Peace is both a gift from God and an obligation for every individual," the pope said in the message to the Aug. 3-4 summit organized by the leader of the Tendai Buddhist community.

Members of the community consider Mount Hiei to be the holiest site in Japan; the Tendai school of Buddhism was founded on the mountain in the 9th century.

When Pope John Paul II invited religious leaders from around the world to gather in Assisi, Italy, in 1986 to pray for peace, the leader of the Tendai Buddhists accepted the invitation. The next year, the community began hosting Japanese religious leaders for an annual prayer for peace service on Mount Hiei.

After the 2001 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, the head of Tendai Buddhism began inviting international representatives of Christianity, Islam and Judaism to join Japanese religious leaders for the prayer service.

In his message to the 2007 summit, Pope Benedict said, "The world's cry for peace, echoed by families and communities throughout the globe, is at once both a prayer to God and an appeal to every brother and sister of our human family."

The pope expressed his hope that the religious leaders gathered for the summit would be filled with God's peace and strengthened in their resolve to give witness to the logic of peace, which surpasses "the irrationality of violence."

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