Bahai News - The world's faithful seek peace

The world's faithful seek peace

By Stephen Huba, Post staff reporter

From the opening procession of children carrying Tibetan prayer flags to the strains of a black gospel choir singing ''This Little Light of Mine,'' Sunday's Millennium Peace Celebration at Xavier University lived up to its name in both the small gestures and the sweeping statements.

Dance, choral music, prayers and rituals from seven world religions coalesced into a 2 1/2-hour liturgy of inclusiveness, turning Xavier's new Cintas Center into a temple for one afternoon.

''Peace is that goal that is so elusive,'' said the Rev. Damon Lynch Jr., celebration emcee. ''We have all come here today to say to the world, 'If you seek peace, if you want peace, then it can be done.' ''

Sunday's event, whose main purpose was to inaugurate Xavier's Brueggeman Center for Interreligious Dialogue, was likely the largest interfaith celebration ever in Cincinnati, organizers said.

On Saturday, 11 houses of worship representing six faith traditions held open houses.

Helping throughout the weekend were 11 members of the International Peace Council, a body of religious leaders who are working for peace in their homelands. Amond the leaders on the stage Sunday was keynote speaker Mairead Corrigan Maguire, co-winner of the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize.

Mrs. Maguire encouraged the 3,000 people in attendance to learn the ''language of love,'' regardless of their religious tradition.

''Every single one of us today have something to do to build a nonviolent culture,'' she said. ''I believe that the great religions of the world can speak to the world, but it must be said in the language of love.''

Mrs. Maguire, a Roman Catholic, criticized the new Vatican document ''Dominus Iesus,'' which clarifies the relationship of the Catholic Church with other world religions. Mrs. Maguire called the document exclusionary and harmful to the progress of interreligious dialogue.

''I do not accept it,'' she said. ''What kind of creator would only give the truth to a few and leave the rest behind?''

Mrs. Maguire was referring to the document's assertion that people outside the Catholic Church are in a ''gravely deficient situation'' regarding their salvation.

The document, drafted by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is highly critical of a trend within some Catholic theological circles to consider all world religions equally valid.

Organizers of Sunday's celebration said their event was in line with the documents of Vatican II on religious freedom and non-Christian religions.

''This is our statement on the respect we have for other churches and religions,'' said Xavier theology professor Brennan Hill, a chief organizer of the Peace Celebration. ''The church recognizes the truth and saving power of other religions.''

Alongside the Christian tradition, there were prayers and songs for peace from Buddhists, Jews, Muslims, American Indians, Hindus and Baha'i adherents.


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