Prayers for Peace

January 12, 1993

The differences between warring factions in Bosnia are not so much ethnic as they are religious. Serbs are Orthodox Christians, Croatians are Roman Catholic and Bosnian Muslims are descended from people who converted to Islam during the Turkish invasions. Each of these religions strongly condemns the barbaric acts that have characterized this war. And they each speak of peace, of forgiveness and reconciliation. Where diplomacy has failed, perhaps the power of faith that reaches beyond creed and cant will yield the potential for finding common ground.

To that end, leaders representing Christian, Muslim and Jewish groups gathered in Baltimore this past weekend at the invitation of Archbishop William H. Keeler to fast and pray for peace in the former Yugoslavia. The Baltimore gathering was planned to coincide with a similar vigil in Assisi, Italy sponsored by Pope John Paul II.

From Baltimore, from Assisi, from around the world, the prayers for peace echo the pronouncement last November from religious leaders in the Balkan states, who declared, "Crime in the name of religion is the greatest crime against religion."

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