PHILIP PULLELLA reuters.com "Pope Francis told Israeli and Palestinian leaders they 'must respond' to their people's yearning for peace 'undaunted in dialogue' during an unprecedented prayer meeting among Jews, Christians and Muslims at the Vatican on Sunday.
The pope made his vibrant appeal to Israeli President Shimon Peres and his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas at the end of a two-hour evening service in the Vatican gardens, an encounter he hopes will relaunch the Middle East peace process.
'Peacemaking calls for courage, much more so than warfare. It calls for the courage to say yes to encounter and no to conflict; yes to dialogue and no to violence; yes to negotiations and no to hostilities,' he said.
The pope spoke after Jewish rabbis, Christian cardinals and Muslim Imams read and chanted from the Old Testament, the New Testament and the Koran in Italian, English, Hebrew and Arabic in the first such inter-religious event in the Vatican.
At times the chanting made it seem that participants were in a synagogue or outside a mosque in the Middle East rather than a primly manicured triangular lawn, a spot the Vatican chose as a 'neutral' site with no religious symbols.
In his strong speech in Italian, Francis called for respect for agreements and rejection of acts of provocation. 'All of this takes courage, it takes strength and tenacity,' he said.
Francis, who made the surprise invitation to the two leaders during his trip to the Holy Land last month, said that the search for peace was 'an act of supreme responsibility before our consciences and before our peoples' and noted that millions around the world of all faiths were praying with them for peace."
to read more: reuters.com
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