18-July-2008 -- Vatican Information Service |

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WYD: Infuse the Young with Religious Values

VATICAN CITY, 18 JUL 2008 (VIS) - Following today's ecumenical meeting, the Pope met with representatives of other religions in the chapter house of St. Mary's Cathedral in Sydney.

Having been greeted by a representative from the Jewish community, and another from the Muslim community, the Pope began his talk by reiterating once again that Australia "is a nation that holds freedom of religion in high regard".

"A harmonious relationship between religion and public life is all the more important at a time when some people have come to consider religion as a cause of division rather than a force for unity. In a world threatened by sinister and indiscriminate forms of violence, the unified voice of religious people urges nations and communities to resolve conflicts through peaceful means and with full regard for human dignity".

"Religious sense", he said, "leads us to meet the needs of others and to search for concrete ways to contribute to the common good. Religions have a special role in this regard, for they teach people that authentic service requires sacrifice and self-discipline, which in turn must be cultivated through self-denial, temperance and a moderate use of the world's goods".

"These values, I am sure you will agree, are particularly important to the adequate formation of young people, who are so often tempted to view life itself as a commodity", said Benedict XVI.

After indicating that "the world's religions draw constant attention to the wonder of human existence", the Pope explained how "men and women are endowed with the ability not only to imagine how things might be better, but to invest their energies to make them better. ... Yet religion, by reminding us of human finitude and weakness, also enjoins us not to place our ultimate hope in this passing world".

The Church, said Pope Benedict, "approaches dialogue believing that the true source of freedom is found in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. Christians believe it is He Who fully discloses the human potential for virtue and goodness, and He Who liberates us from sin and darkness. The universality of human experience, which transcends all geographical boundaries and cultural limitations, makes it possible for followers of religions to engage in dialogue so as to grapple with the mystery of life's joys and sufferings".

"My dear friends, I have come to Australia as an ambassador of peace. ... Our effort to bring about reconciliation between peoples springs from, and is directed to, that truth which gives purpose to life. Religion offers peace, but more importantly, it arouses within the human spirit a thirst for truth and a hunger for virtue. May we encourage everyone - especially the young - to marvel at the beauty of life, to seek its ultimate meaning, and to strive to realise its sublime potential!"

Following the meeting, the Holy Father returned to Cathedral House where he had lunch with Cardinal George Pell and twelve young people from various countries: a young man and young woman from each of the continents, and a young man and young woman from Australia.

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