This is the title, but also the wish of the European Assembly of Religions for Peace (RfP), the organism that gathers the unites religious leaders of the world in walking together in the search for peace and justice, and Maria Voce is the co-president. Religions for Peace is currently involved in a global campaign called the Faiths for Earth project. “A very important initiative,” said Voce, because “humankind is facing an unprecedented challenge of global proportions, with little time left before it is too late. I see a providential synergy with the Pope’s Encyclical Laudato si’, which has generated such great interest around the world.
In her opening address, on October 29, the Focolare’s president recalled the recent events that have changed the face of Europe. In front of the “tide of immigrants and migrants without historical precedent,” […] “Numerically speaking this phenomenon is far greater than the one million stateless people after the Second World War,” Maria Voce highlighted the dramatic situation that make us feel “dismayed, at a loss, and sometimes very uncomfortable, perhaps also deeply ashamed at our own powerlessness.” Among the causes she pointed to, also the “dramatic and questionable military interventions which destabilised whole nations in North Africa, the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa and other ongoing conflicts. Our European nations are certainly not completely blameless with regard to these conflicts. ” Great concern: “What is most worrisome about our continent is the deep identity crisis which prevents these emergencies from being addressed in a co-ordinated and united way; and the “people fleeing from hunger and war becoming often the cause of strife and nationalistic backlashes. They continue to be victims of selfish exploitation, and become tools in political strategies to win favour and promote dangerous populist action.”
And so, “believers, as members of varied religious traditions, together with all men and women of good will” join the cause. “We are certainly different,” Maria Voce acknowledges, “but we are all united by the same imperative, so well expressed by the Golden Rule put in many different ways in all our scriptures. We can sum it up in these words: “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:31). The Golden Rule is an ethical and spiritual norm that is too often forgotten. It has been put forward by Pope Francis as a true socio-political paradigm in his speech before Congress in the United States a few weeks ago.” The Golden Rule “calls us to respond to these crises, inviting us as leaders, as communities and as individuals to a shared commitment, one that is concrete, constant and heroic, even, so as to come to the aid of the mass of suffering people who plead for help, who are weeping and struggling and who, despite everything, carry on hoping.
And it opens a window: “In fact, religion itself, which for centuries has been relegated to the private life of individuals and communities, and was considered by many as finished with until a few decades ago, has now become more accepted within the public life of our countries and our continent. It is needed today to give meaning and a soul, as well as true and satisfying answers, to humankind which is so confused and lost and traumatised today. It is enough to think of Pope Francis and the effect he is having in the world.”
“This is the extraordinary adventure that we are called to live in our day and Religions for Peace is a providential platform: each one of us has a clear role in its immense workings. We are a wonderful international, intercultural and interreligious community, made one family above all by the shared ideal,” based on several basic points: Unity in diversity; Reciprocity in our relationships; and equality in our shared human dignity.”
“On this solid foundation” it will be possible to “offer an effective contribution to peace and reconciliation in Europe;” and to set a final goal for ourselves: “humankind living according to God’s design fulfilled, which means universal fraternity.”