Religious leaders

Religious leaders commit to peaceful coexistence as Pope Francis delivers message of peace

(Last Updated On: 28 November 2023)

Kampala I Representatives of different religious leaders in Uganda have affirmed the need for continued dialogue and tolerance among the diverse key players to ensure global peace prevails.

“…let the walls of our heart fall, both visible and invisible walls, let the walls that separate us as brethren fall. Let the walls dividing the peoples of Europe, Asia, Africa, in the Americas, walls in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea for migrants fleeing wars…,” the leaders proclaimed.

This was during the International Meeting for Peace organized by Sant Egidio on Tuesday, November 21, 2023, at Clarke International University in Kampala.

The meeting was organised by the Community of Sant’ Egidio, a lay Catholic association founded in 1968 and dedicated to social service. The association is operating in more than 80 countries globally.

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The proclamation titled the “Audacity for Peace in Line with Berlin” was read by Joan Mirembe of Makerere University which culminated in the burning of peace candles by the religious leaders who attended.

“…gathered here in Kampala in the spirit of Assisi, representatives of the different religions, we pray for peace in the world, and we do so in this citadel of learning, meant to model global citizens, citizens not held down just the walls of ideologies…,” reads in part of the proclamation.

Referring to war as the negation of the common destiny of peoples, and the defeat of humanity, the religious leaders condemn those who trigger war and use deadly weapons that kill huge numbers of people sowing grief and causing severe environmental consequences.

Pope Francis in his message to the global community regretted that over the years, the world is increasingly becoming more divided, which waters down the ideals that Sant Egidio was formed and stands for.

In his message read by the Apostolic Nuncio in Uganda His Excellency Luigi Bianco, the Holy See says today war still ravages too many parts of the world including Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

Saying the world cannot close its eyes on the sufferings of humanity due to the endless wars, Pope Francis urged countries to embrace peace by allowing dialogue to take centre stage in all conflicts.

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“…we cannot resign ourselves to this scenario, something more is needed, we need the audacity of peace which is at the heart of your meeting, realism is not enough, political considerations are not enough, the strategic approaches implemented so far are not enough…,” the Pope challenged.

The Pontiff said the audacity of peace is the prophecy required of those who hold the fate of warring countries in their hands, of the international community, and everyone.

He said it is especially the case with regard to believing men and women, that they give expression to the cries of mothers and fathers, to the heartbreak of the fallen, and the futility of destruction, and so denounce the madness of war.

Quoting Jesus’ message as recorded in the Gospel, Luke 18:1 and 11:9 in which he taught about prayer, Pope Francis asked believers and all people of God to pray without ceasing for peace to prevail in the world.

“…Let us continue to pray for peace without losing heart, to knock with a humble and insistent spirit at the ever-open door of God’s heart and the doors of humankind…,” he appealed.

According to Rosa Sarracini the Co-ordinator of Sant’Egidio Uganda, the annual event promoted by the Community of Sant’ Egidio has always been able to engage religious leaders, politicians, believers and non-believers and ordinary people of all ages in the building of peace at every latitude.

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