Message of Congratulations
Pope Benedict XVI Inauguration
Most Holy Father:
Please allow me to express my heartfelt congratulations on your election as Pope Benedict XVI, the 265th bishop of Rome.
His Holiness showed a profound understanding of interreligious dialogue and cooperation, and enjoyed a close rapport with the world's religious leaders. He graciously permitted the sixth World Assembly of the World Conference of Religions for Peace (WCRP) to convene in the Vatican, and honored those gathered there with his presence and his words. I will never forget the image of His Holiness and my father, Rissho Kosei-kai Founder Nikkyo Niwano, seated side by side on the platform in Synod Hall.
Your election shines like a beacon of hope, illuminating the way of the future for all the faithful around the world, who are still immersed in sadness due to the ascent to heaven of Pope John Paul II. It is my sincere prayer that under the leadership of Your Holiness, the Roman Catholic Church will make even greater strides toward the realization of world peace.
Members of the Catholic Church make no distinction in calling everyone in the world "our brothers and sisters." This spirit of treating all as brothers and sisters ought to be of the greatest importance for modern people, and ultimately, it is part of the wisdom common to all religions.
Though expressed differently by each religion, the goal of all is one and the same. I believe that if we can find the common point central to all religions, then we can send a crucial message to those modern people who have lost sight of life's guideposts.
Since the Second Vatican Council, the Catholic Church has initiated positive measures to promote interreligious dialogue and cooperation. Your Holiness's predecessor, Pope John Paul II, profoundly influenced religious people throughout the world by his explanation of the importance of dialogue and reconciliation. Next year, the eighth assembly of the World Conference of Religions for Peace (WCRP VIII) will be convened in Kyoto, Japan. We hope that the Holy See will continue to lend its support and advice to this, and to all future, WCRP activities.
As we look back on the recent change of the century, and look forward toward this millennium just started, we see war waged ceaselessly, with no end to cycles of violence and revenge. In bringing peace to the world, never has there been an age that has so cried out for the wise leadership of Your Holiness.
It is the wish of every religion to bring about a world in which all life is respected. In this regard, too, our hearts are as one with that of the Holy Father, and I hope that we will continue to progress in that direction step by step, having joined hands with the world's religious leaders.
Once again, congratulations on your election to the sacred office of the papacy as Pope Benedict XVI.
President, Japanese Committee,
World Conference of Religions for Peace
President, Federation of New Religious Organizations of Japan
President, Rissho Kosei-kai