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ABC, Madrid

The Panreligious Encounter in Barcelona
On October 3-5, 2010, the 24th interfaith meeting celebrating Assisi (October 27, 1986) took place in Barcelona, Spain. Since 1987, these annual encounters have been celebrated in different capitals of Europe, hosted by Rome's Community of St. Egidio with the support of the local Dioceses.

Barcelona also hosted the encounter in 2001. This year, however, the Archdiocese is preparing to receive Benedict XVI next month on November 7. This International Meeting for Peace, therefore, took on a preparatory character for the papal visit.

This aspect was highlighted by Card. Luis Martinez Sistach, Archbishop of Barcelona, in his message inviting people to attend the meeting. He recalled Benedict's words sent to last year's Interfaith Encounter in Crakow: "Religions must fight against violence, racism, totalitarianism and extremism, which distort the image of the Creator in man, obliterating the horizon of God and leading man to despise man."

The encounter ended with a march through the city on October 6, above, where Catalonian leaders of different confessions walked side by side as a symbol of their pretended unity. From the left, a local rabbi, a Shintoist monk, Card. Sistach, a Jewish chief rabbi and a Muslim iman.

Below first row, Tenrikyian monks lighting candles - fire is the only common symbol of all these religions. Second row, part of the Jewish delegation; third row, Catholic Prelates line up as equals with the other false worshippers of fire.

This general ecumenical and inter-religious climate installed by the conciliar Popes - and continued by meetings like this in Barcelona - are in stark opposition to the previous teaching of the Church. For example, Pope Pius IX affirmed with energy:

Perverse is the shocking theory that it makes no difference to which religion one belongs [religious indifferentism], a theory which is greatly at variance even with reason. By means of this theory, those crafty men remove all distinction between virtue and vice, truth and error, honorable and vile action. They pretend that men can gain eternal salvation by the practice of any religion, as if there could ever be any sharing between justice and iniquity, any collaboration between light and darkness, or any agreement between Christ and Belial” (Encyclical Qui pluribus of November 9, 1846, The Papal Encyclicals, vol. 1, Mcgrath, 1981, p. 280).

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Photos from  Communita Sant'Egidio
Posted October 10, 2010

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