NEWS for Wednesday, August 30, 2000
CARDINAL ARINZE ATTENDS MILLENNIUM RELIGIOUS SUMMIT
The Church Has the Duty to Make its Contribution to Peace and Charity
NEW YORK, AUGUST 29 (ZENIT.org)
Some find it strange that a Cardinal
of the Catholic Church would be in the company of Swamis, Buddhist
monks, Inca Indians with woollen tunics and hats with bells, ministers
of all the religions of the planet, at a meeting sponsored by the United
Nations in New York. To make matters worse, the Millennium Summit on
World Peace is partially bankrolled by Ted Turner's U.N. Foundation,
"Better World Fund." Turner, who once said that Christianity was "for
losers," will give the keynote address.
In fact, the answer to the question is contained, perhaps, in the
meeting's official objective: to analyze the way in which religions can
cooperate with the U.N. in the promotion of peace, the struggle against
poverty, and the conservation of the environment. Specifically, the
participants are debating four general topics: the search for dialogue;
the role of religion in the transformation of conflicts; forgiveness and
reconciliation; and the struggle against violence, poverty, and the
degradation of the environment.
Cardinal Francis Arinze, president of the Pontifical Council for
Interreligious Dialogue, is participating in the meeting. As John Paul
II is unable to attend, he asked the Nigerian Cardinal to attend the
sessions personally. Indeed, Cardinal Arinze himself responded to these
doubts on Vatican Radio.
The Summit of religious leaders "is a step that can be considered
positive," he said. "Of course, not everything is very clear, but it
does not matter. The fact is that some 1,000 people of various religions
have been invited to attend in a 'personal capacity,' and are examining
the contribution of religions to peace and the way they can offer help
to the United Nations."
-- What is the original contribution the Catholic Church will make in
that international round table?
-- Cardinal Arinze: The presence of the Catholic Church consists in the
fact that some Catholics have been invited in a "personal capacity." The
Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ is a Gospel of justice, love, respect,
and peace. The Church cannot fail to preach the Gospel. Because of this,
the Catholic Church not only offers the contribution of her doctrine,
but she also offers her life. Think of all those men and women who gave
their lives in defense of the poor and others, like Mother Teresa of
Calcutta, or Charles de Foucauld.
-- Do you think co-operation among religions really contributes to bring
peace, even in countries scourged by civil wars, like Indonesia and
-- Cardinal Arinze: Yes, the answer is "yes." Cooperation among the
followers of different religions not only can, but must contribute to
respect for human rights, and reciprocal love. Otherwise, religions are
reduced to museum pieces. The promotion of peace is one of the points in
which the majority of religions are in agreement, at least in the line
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