– In the recent visit ad limina  held last  month of September in Roma,  Pope John Paul II has condemned terrorism and violence in the Philippines in calling for the country’s religious leaders to work together “to eliminate the social and cultural causes of terrorism.”
In the campaign against such violence, he said, “religious leaders have a vital role.” He called for “ecumenical and interreligious dialogue and cooperation” to combat terrorism and violence, and eliminate the root causes.
In particular, he recommended that the Bishops’-Ulama Conference emphasize at the local level the joint “Commitment to Peace” presented at the Day of Prayer for Peace the pope hosted in Assisi, Italy, in January 2004.
The pope reminded them of the 1991 Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, citing its pastoral priorities as: “the need to be a Church of the poor, the pledge to become a true community of the Lord’s disciples, and the commitment to engage in renewed integral evangelization.”
Being a Church of the poor, the pope explained, means giving “preferential attention to the poor, seeking to share time and resources in order to alleviate suffering.” When Christian leaders work with leaders of other religions against terrorism and violence, that too is a “component” of a true Church of the poor.
Such a Church, he said, “works with all sectors of society, including the poor themselves.” It “makes use of the talents and gifts of the poor, relying on them in the mission of evangelization,” he added.
“In a real way”, he said, a Church of the poor “contributes much” to societal renewal “based on the vision and values of the Gospel.”