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Pope praises interfaith response to Japan tsunami

Alessandro Speciale, Vatican City
Vatican City

August 5, 2012

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Pope Benedict XVI has praised interfaith cooperation in bringing relief to tsunami victims in a message addressed to an interreligious gathering in Japan. Vatican secretary of state Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone sent a letter to the Venerable Kohun Handa, supreme priest of the Tendai Buddhist Denomination on behalf of the Pontiff on the occasion of the 25th Interreligious Gathering of Prayer for World Peace. Bishop Pierluigi Celata, former secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, delivered the letter on Friday at the opening of the two-day gathering on Mount Hiei in Japan. Reaffirming that for Christians, “the love given to those who suffer is a reflection of the divine charity of God,” Benedict recalled “the earthquake and tsunami in northeast Japan last year and the harrowing consequences for the whole nation,” the letter stated. “It was heartening to learn of the effective role of religious leaders in offering hope and support, as well as counsel and solace, to all those suffering.” For the pope, the tsunami tragedy nevertheless served to show once again “how people of different beliefs can cooperate with one another for the good of the human person.”
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