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Pope/World day of peace.

Rome--Dialogue between cultures is "a privileged means for building the civilization of love," Pope John Paul II said in his message for the Jan. 1, 2001, World Day of Peace. But, he said, "dialogue in fact is often difficult because it is weighed down by the tragic heritage of war, conflict, violence and hatred which lives on in people's memory.

To bridge this barrier, the pope insisted that "the path to take is the path of forgiveness and reconciliation." However, he continued, many people "maintain that this is a utopian and naive path," though "from the Christian point of view it is the only path which leads to the goal of peace." The Pope said that "even now, sad to say, in different parts of the word we are witnessing with growing alarm the aggressive claims of some cultures against others. In the long run, this situation can end in disastrous tensions and conflicts."

He wrote, "The alarming increase of arms, together with the halting progress of commitment to nuclear non-proliferation, runs the risk of feeding and expanding a culture of competition and conflict." Still, he said, just as individuals "come to maturity through receptive openness to others and through generous self-giving to them," so do cultures.

He said that "to build the civilization of love, dialogue between cultures must work to overcome all ethnocentric selfishness and make it possible to combine regard for one's own identity with understanding of others and respect for diversity." He explored in some detail how a necessary love for one's s own culture can be harmonized with openness to other cultures. The dialogue he called for "protects the distinctiveness of cultures as historical and creative expressions of the underlying unity of the human family," while sustaining "understanding and communion between them.

The Pope discussed the situation of migrants in today's world and the attitude individual cultures should take toward them. He stressed the importance of respect for life, of education, of solidarity, and of justice to the cause of peace among other points.
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Title Annotation:John Paul II comment on inter-cultural relations to achieve peace
Publication:Catholic Insight
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:4EUIT
Date:Mar 1, 2001
Words:339
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