They came, they prayed, they appealed.
Religious leaders from around the world held their own not-so-mini “G8 summit” in Italy on June 16-17. The “Fourth Summit of Religious Leaders on the occasion of the G8,” as the meeting was officially called, started with a visit to L’Aquila, the central Italian city severely damaged by an earthquake on April 6. That will be the venue in July of the actual summit of the G8 club of industrial nations.
Nearly 130 religious leaders and diplomats then moved to Rome where they held two days of talks under the auspices of the Italian foreign ministry. This was the religious leaders’ fourth annual meeting, following those held in conjunction with earlier G8 summits in Moscow, Cologne and Sapporo.
They were hosted by Bishop Vincenzo Paglia, the bishop of Terni who is one of the founders of the Sant’ Egidio community and a member of the Italian bishops conference commission for ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue.
Apart from the Catholic hosts, the participants including high-level Muslims, Protestants, Orthodox, Hindus, Anglicans, Zoroastrians, Jews, Shintoists and Buddhists.