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Last Updated: Sunday, 21 October 2007, 14:35 GMT 15:35 UK
Pope decries 'religious' violence
Pope Benedict XVI poses with world religious leaders at the Naples peace summit.
Religion must promote reconciliation, the Pope said
Pope Benedict XVI has urged world religious leaders not to allow God's name to be used to justify violence.

"Religions must never become vehicles for hatred," the Pope told the leaders attending a peace summit in Naples.

The Catholic Church, said the Pope, would continue to seek dialogue to bridge the gap between cultures.

Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and Zoroastrians are attending the event organised by the Sant'Egidio Community, a Catholic lay organisation.

Catholics supremacy?

The three-day conference - entitled For a World Without Violence: Religions and Cultures in Dialogue - gathers scholars and religious leaders.

They include Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I, the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, Israel's chief rabbi Yona Metzger and the imam of the United Arab Emirates, Ibrahim Ezzeddin.

Pope Benedict XVI at mass in Naples
The Pope highlighted criminal violence in Naples

"In a world wounded by conflicts, where violence is justified in God's name, it's important to repeat that religion can never become a vehicle of hatred, it can never be used in God's name to justify violence," the Pope told the gathering.

"On the contrary, religions can and must offer precious resources to build a peaceful humanity, because they speak about peace in the heart of man.

"With respect for the differences between different religions, we are all called to work for peace and an effective effort to promote reconciliation between peoples."

But he also made it clear that he will never budge on traditional Catholic teaching, that Catholicism alone is the one true faith, reports the BBC's David Willey from Naples.

Mafia suffering

Before meeting religious leaders, the Pope celebrated an open air Mass.

There was a relatively poor turnout for the Mass - the cold, wet weather discouraged many Neapolitans from attending.

Pope Benedict called for a profound spiritual renewal in this city which is plagued by unemployment and a high crime rate. He singled out the activities of the Camorra - the local mafia-style organisation that controls much of the city's economy.

"How important it is to intensify efforts for a serious strategy of prevention focusing on schools and the workplace and on helping young people spend their free time," the Pope said.

"Everyone must intervene against violence."

Malta Star 'Religions must never become vehicles of hatred' - 14 hrs ago
Taipei Times Online Pope to meet religious leaders at summit - 25 hrs ago
Daily TimesPope urges 'reconciliation' for world religion meeting - 30 hrs ago
Telegraph Religion is not for hate, says Pope - 33 hrs ago
Herald Sun Naples: World religious leaders start peace summit - 36 hrs ago
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