The Holy See’s Secretary of State urged Catholic leaders to work for peace and unity in the face of religious-inspired violence like the Abu Sayaff terrorism in Mindanao.

“Walk hand in hand to build channels of fraternity (and) in building a beautiful world which to live and to work,” said Archbishop Jean Louis-Tauran during a meeting with religious leaders at the Apostolic Nunciature in Taft, Manila. The meeting was part of the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the country’s relations with the Vatican last June 4.

The Vatican official explained religion should promote respect and understanding in society and should never be used to instigate hatred or violence. He also cited religion’s important role in the promotion of justice and social harmony.

The Archbishop pointed out that the Pope has spent enormous energy and time over the past 23 years of his pontificate just to break the wall that separate peoples of various religions.

“Pope John Paul II has done this in his fervent desire to restore unity within Christianity and to establish significant relations with non-Christian believers,” he said.

Recently, the Holy Father made a historic visit to a mosque and started to bring inter-religious dialogue up to a higher level, hoping to tear down the division that separates Christians and non-Christian believers.

“These two elements, harmony among peoples and justice within society, clearly defined by the Pope, are principles that guide our relations with all religions,” Archbishop Louis-Tauran said. Alder T. Almo

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