19-January-2004 -- Catholic World News Brief |

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POPE SAYS GREAT RELIGIONS MUST UNITE FOR PEACE

Vatican, Jan. 19 (CWNews.com) - At a "concert for reconciliation," held in the Vatican's Paul VI auditorium on January 17, Pope John Paul II said that the world needs the combined witness of Jews, Christians, and Muslims in support of peace.

"The history of relations among Jews, Christians, and Muslims shows both lights and shadows, and unfortunately some sad moments," the Pope said. In today's dangerous world, he continued, there is an "urgent need" for the world's great religions to come together, in light of their "common desire that all men be purified of the hatred and evil that always threaten peace."

The Pope made his remarks after the presentation of two symphonic works: Mahler's "Resurrection" and Harbison's "Abraham." The two works were selected to highlight the common beliefs of the three monotheistic religions.

Prior to the musical program, Cardinal Walter Kasper -- who was one of the principal organizers of the event, in his capacity as president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity-- saluted Pope John Paul for his efforts to promote inter-religious harmony during the 25 years of his pontificate. Cardinal Kasper took note of some of the Pope's memorable gestures in that direction: his visit to the synagogue in Rome, to the Western Wall in Jerusalem, to al-Azhar university in Cairo, and to the Ommeyyad mosque in Damascus. The Holy Father, he said, has been "a courageous witness against hatred and violence." At the conclusion of the concert, the Pope warmly saluted conductor Gilbert Levine, who had let the Pittsburgh Symphony, accompanied by choirs from Ankara, Krakow, and London.



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