Wednesday, August 17, 2011


I came across a document today that I hadn't heard about. It's called the Assisi Decalogue for Peace. Back in 2002, Pope John Paul II and about 200 religious leaders got together in Assisi, Italy, to renew their efforts to promote peace. At this conference, there were Catholics and Jews and Buddhists and Mennonites and Quakers and Muslims and Zoroastrians and on and on.

After 10 days of talking and praying, they drew up a document and called it "The Assisi Decalogue for Peace." It was a 10-point program based on the conviction, as Pope John Paul II said, that "humanity must choose between love and hate."

That strikes me as a good conviction.

The document was sent to all the world's leaders. I'm not sure they all got it, but I hope they did, and I hope they read it again.

Here's "The Assisi Decalogue for Peace":

1. WE COMMIT OURSELVES to proclaiming our firm conviction that violence and terrorism are opposed to all true religious spirit and we condemn all recourse to violence and war in the name of God or religion. We undertake to do everything possible to eradicate the causes of terrorism.

2. WE COMMIT OURSELVES to educate people about respect and mutual esteem in order to achieve peaceful coexistence and solidarity among members of different ethnic groups, cultures and religions.

3. WE COMMIT OURSELVES to promote the culture of dialogue so that understanding and trust may develop among individuals and peoples as these are the conditions of authentic peace.

4. WE COMMIT OURSELVES to defend the right of all human beings to lead a dignified life, in accordance with their cultural identity, and to start their own family freely.

5. WE COMMIT OURSELVES to engage in dialogue with sincerity and patience, without considering what separates us as an insurmountable wall, on the contrary, recognizing that facing our differences can become an occasion for greater reciprocal understanding.

6. WE COMMIT OURSELVES to pardon each other's errors and prejudices of the past and present, and to support one another in the common struggle against egoism and abuses, hatred and violence, and in order to learn from the past that peace without justice is not true peace.

7. WE COMMIT OURSELVES to stand at the side of those who suffer poverty and abandonment, speaking out for those who have no voice and taking concrete action to overcome such situations, in the conviction that no one can be happy alone.
8. WE COMMIT OURSELVES to make our own the cry of those who do not surrender to violence and evil, and we wish to contribute with all our strength to give a real hope of justice and peace to the humanity of our time.

9. WE COMMIT OURSELVES to encourage all initiatives that promote friendship between peoples, in the conviction that, if a solid understanding between peoples is lacking, technological progress exposes the world to increasing dangers of destruction and death.

10. WE COMMIT OURSELVES to ask the leaders of nations to make every possible effort so as to build, at both national and international level, a world of solidarity and peace founded on justice.We, as persons of different religious traditions, will tirelessly proclaim that peace and justice are inseparable, and that peace in justice is the only path which humanity can take towards a future of hope. In a world with ever more open borders, shrinking distances and better relations as a result of a broad network of communications, we are convinced that security, freedom and peace will never be guaranteed by force but by mutual trust.

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