CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 9 September 2017

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Japan’s religious call for world peace

KYOTO (UCAN): Religious leaders have met in Japan to pray for peace in the world and as a response to Pope Francis asking them to foster dialogue, friendship and peace.
 
Representatives of Buddhism, Shintoism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism and Zoroastrianism came together in Japan at an interfaith Interreligious Gathering of Prayer for World Peace held from August 3 to 4 at Mount Hiei near Kyoto.
 
The prayer meeting has been held annually since 1987. It runs each year in the days prior to the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, which is marked on August 6, and was an initiative inspired by Pope John Paul II when he called all religious leaders to pray for peace with him in Assisi in 1986.
 
About 2,000 people gathered this year to mark the 30th anniversary of the prayer gathering, including 24 delegates from 18 countries. The former bishop of Hong Kong, John Cardinal Tong Hon, represented Pope Francis at the event and read a special message from him at the beginning of the gathering.
 
The pope addressed his letter to Koei Morikawa, the supreme priest of Tendai, and asked all delegates to the prayer summit to work and pray to foster dialogue, friendship and peace.
 
The temple at Mount Hiei is the most significant holy place for the Japanese Buddhist denomination Tendai.
 
Bishop Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot, the secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, was one of seven panelists at a symposium on terrorism and religion.
 
“We must increase our awareness that any kind of war is incompatible with true religious ethics,” Bishop Ayuso said. He added that dialogue should always be regarded as a necessity rather than an option.
 
Archbishop Mitsuaki Takami, the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan, strongly appealed for the abolition of nuclear weapons as a way of foster peace. 
 
The archbishop was a baby in his mother’s womb during the 9 August 1945 bombing of Nagasaki.
 
In 2015, Pope Francis had repeated the oft-made call from his predecessors for a total ban on nuclear weapons and all weapons of mass destruction.
 
“This tragic event still gives rise to horror and revulsion,” the pope had said, adding that what he described as the sad anniversary “is a call to pray and work for peace, to spread throughout the world an ethic of brotherhood and a climate of serene coexistence among peoples.”

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