In the Message, read by mgr. Pier Luigi Celata, former secretary of the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue who is visiting Japan over these days, the Pontiff greets the leaders that have been convened for the meeting, “in the spirit of the 1986 historic meeting in Assisi” promoted by John Paul II, and says he is “confident that the work of the Summit and the Symposium studying the response of religious leaders to natural disasters will lead to greater solidarity and mutual help”. Actually the Pontiff’s mind went back to the earthquake and tsunami that hit the north-east of Japan last year, with “harrowing consequences for the whole nation”. “It was heartening – Benedict XVI said – to learn of the effective role of religious leaders in offering hope and support, as well as counsel and solace, to all those suffering. The tragic event also shows how people of different beliefs can cooperate with one another for the good of the human person”.
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