Vatican: Assisi Event a Pilgrimage, Not Syncretistic
VATICAN CITY, APRIL 3, 2011 (Zenit.org).
Notes Elements Holy Father Proposes for Reflection
There is need to enter into dialogue with everyone, regardless of religious faith, and without sacrificing one’s own identity or indulging in syncretism, a statement from the Vatican press office affirmed in regard to Benedict XVI’s upcoming pilgrimage to Assisi.
A statement Saturday from the press office addressed plans for the Oct. 27 day of reflection, dialogue and prayer for peace and justice in the world, to be held in Assisi.
The day, with the theme “Pilgrims of truth, pilgrims of peace,” marks the 25th anniversary of the event held there in 1986 under the leadership of Pope John Paul II. The Polish Pontiff invited representatives of the world religions for a Day of Prayer for Peace.
“Every human being is ultimately a pilgrim in search of truth and goodness,” the Vatican communiqué noted, in explaining the event. “Believers too are constantly journeying towards God: hence the possibility, indeed the necessity, of speaking and entering into dialogue with everyone, believers and unbelievers alike, without sacrificing one’s own identity or indulging in forms of syncretism.
“To the extent that the pilgrimage of truth is authentically lived, it opens the path to dialogue with the other, it excludes no one and it commits everyone to be a builder of fraternity and peace. These are the elements that the Holy Father wishes to place at the center of reflection.”
The Vatican noted that personages from the world of culture and science will be invited, as well as the representatives of Christian communities and of the principal religious traditions.
The communiqué asserted that the “image of pilgrimage therefore sums up the meaning of the event.”
It announced that there will be “an opportunity to look back over the path already travelled from that first meeting in Assisi to the following one in January 2002, and also to look ahead to the future, with a view to continuing, in company with all men and women of good will, to walk along the path of dialogue and fraternity, in the context of a world in rapid transformation.”
The communiqué gave some specific details, including that the delegation accompanying the Holy Father will leave Rome by train on the morning of Oct. 27. The Pontiff will give an address at the event. And there will be a “simple lunch, shared by the delegates: a meal under the banner of sobriety, intended to express fraternal conviviality, and at the same time solidarity in the suffering of so many men and women who do not know peace.”
The pilgrimage “is intended to symbolize the journey of every human being who assiduously seeks the truth and actively builds justice and peace,” the Vatican note added. “It will take place in silence, leaving room for personal meditation and prayer.”
The statement also announced that Benedict XVI will lead a prayer vigil the evening before at St. Peter’s. The Vatican invited particular Churches to do the same, and it announced that the presidents of the Pontifical Councils for the Promotion of Christian Unity and of Interreligious Dialogue and the Pontifical Council for Culture will be sending a message in the coming weeks.
“The Pope asks the Catholic faithful to join him in praying for the celebration of this important event,” the statement concluded, “and he is grateful to all those who will be able to be present in St. Francis’ hometown to share this spiritual pilgrimage.”