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Thursday, 20 February 2003

Your Eminence,
Distinguished Friends,

With great pleasure I greet you, the members of the Inter-religious Delegation from Indonesia. Your presence here brings back vivid memories of my pastoral visit to Indonesia in 1989, an occasion filled with mutual affection and appreciation as I was able to experience personally the variety of your rich cultural and religious heritage.

At this time of great tension for the world, you have come to Rome, and I am grateful to have this occasion to speak to you. With the real possibility of war looming on the horizon, we must not permit politics to become a source of further division among the world’s religions. In fact, neither the threat of war nor war itself should be allowed to alienate Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and members of other religions. As religious leaders committed to peace, we should work together with our own people, with those of other religious beliefs and with all men and women of good will to ensure understanding, cooperation and solidarity. Earlier this year, I said: "War is always a defeat for humanity" (Address to the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See, 13 January 2003, 4); it is also a tragedy for religion.

My fervent prayer is that our efforts to promote mutual understanding and trust will bear abundant fruit and help the world to avoid conflict. For it is through commitment and continuing cooperation that cultures and religions "will be able to break through the barriers which divide them, to understand one another and to pardon those who have done them wrong" (Pacem in Terris, V). This is the way that leads to true peace on earth. Together, let us work and pray for this peace.

Upon you and the beloved people of Indonesia I invoke abundant divine blessings.


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