|On Thursday afternoon, 14 May 2009, the Holy Father met with the
religious leaders of Galilee, in the Auditorium of the Shrine of the
Annunciation in Nazareth. Each religious tradition represented there has
a potential to promote a culture of peace, and the Pope encouraged
molding the hearts of the young, for the sake of the future of humanity.
Grateful for the words of welcome offered by Bishop Giacinto-Boulos
Marcuzzo and for your warm reception, I cordially greet the leaders of
different communities present, including Christians, Muslims, Jews,
Druze and other religious peoples.
I feel particularly blessed to visit this city revered by Christians as
the place where the Angel announced to the Virgin Mary that she would
conceive by the power of the Holy Spirit. Here too Joseph, her
betrothed, saw the Angel in a dream and was directed to name the child
"Jesus". After the marvelous events surrounding his birth, the child was
brought to this city by Joseph and Mary where he "grew and became
strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him" (Lk
The conviction that the world is a gift of God, and that God has entered
the twists and turns of human history, is the perspective from which
Christians view creation as having a reason and a purpose. Far from
being the result of blind fate, the world has been willed by God and
bespeaks his glorious splendor.
At the heart of all religious traditions is the conviction that peace
itself is a gift from God, yet it cannot be achieved without human
endeavor. Lasting peace flows from the recognition that the world is
ultimately not our own, but rather the horizon within which we are
invited to participate in Godís love and cooperate in guiding the world
and history under his inspiration. We cannot do whatever we please with
the world; rather, we are called to conform our choices to the subtle
yet nonetheless perceptible laws inscribed by the Creator upon the
universe and pattern our actions after the divine goodness that pervades
the created realm.
Galilee, a land known for its religious and ethnic diversity, is home to
a people who know well the efforts required to live in harmonious
coexistence. Our different religious traditions have a powerful
potential to promote a culture of peace, especially through teaching and
preaching the deeper spiritual values of our common humanity. By molding
the hearts of the young, we mold the future of humanity itself.
Christians readily join Jews, Muslims, Druze, and people of other
religions in wishing to safeguard children from fanaticism and violence
while preparing them to be builders of a better world.
My dear friends, I know that you accept cheerfully and with a greeting
of peace the many pilgrims who flock to Galilee. I encourage you to
continue exercising mutual respect as you work to ease tensions
concerning places of worship, thus assuring a serene environment for
prayer and reflection here and throughout Galilee. Representing
different religious traditions, you share a desire to contribute to the
betterment of society and thus testify to the religious and spiritual
values that help sustain public life. I assure you that the Catholic
Church is committed to join in this noble undertaking. In cooperation
with men and women of good will, she will seek to ensure that the light
of truth, peace and goodness continue to shine forth from Galilee and
lead people across the globe to seek all that fosters the unity of the
human family. God bless you all.
The Holy See Press Office
14 May 2009