Cardinal, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington, USA
It was nine years ago and we were together here in Barcelona, to pray for peace. Our hopes were high, but just a few days after our gathering, they were shattered by the terror attacks that struck my country. It struck my family as well, as I lost a nephew who was a fire-fighter in New York.
But the very next day after the tragedy, the religious leaders of Washington gathered together with the heads of the Muslim and the Jewish communities and many other leaders of the great religions of the world. We came together to call for peace, for understanding, and for the unity of the human family. We were one in our prayers for those who had suffered and one in our concern that the terrible crimes of a small group of terrorists would not let us forget the overwhelming number of our sisters and brothers of the Muslim community who were as outraged and troubled as we were.
This is what we believers must always do, come together in prayer, and then in dialogue, and then in action, to work together for a better world.
As the new century opened under the mark of terrorist violence, we were determined not to lose the vision of peace and brotherhood. Dialogue was not something for dreamers, the dream of people who had no contact with reality. Indeed, even though, as Andrea Riccardi said, “dialogue seems to be a dangerous naiveté”, we know that it was a key to understanding and common action.
We have been patiently gathering and dialoguing since 1986, and we are determined that this path will not stop. We brought our hopes and our dreams to the United States, in Washington in 2006, and this year we want to celebrate the beginning of a new decade.
We are aware that peace is indeed fragile and that the darkness of war still clouds many countries and whole regions of our world. But men and women of faith, believers in the one God, have the strength to rise high and reach above the darkness, to see the coming of a new dawn.
We in the United States join our President as he works with Israelis and Palestinians to help bring peace and justice with security to the land we call holy. We pray for the success of this challenging opportunity and for peace throughout our world.
We are people of faith, and we believe that God will give us the strength and the vision to bring light out of darkness and joy out of sorrow. For this we dedicate ourselves to dialogue and patience, offering all our talents, our energies, and our hopes, to a world of peace, tomorrow and always.