Shimon Peres, a patriarch of today's
Israel, wants to leave a legacy. Most in this mode aim for things like
monuments, memoirs and money. Peres'
aim is world peace. And in his opinion, Pope Francis, a man he calls "Holy Father,"
is the one to make it happen.
Vatican spokesmen concur, as
does Italy's representative for Islam, who "fully agrees".
Two months after completing his term as Israel's ninth president,
91-year-old Shimon Peres was pounding stony pavement at the Vatican.
On September 4, 2014, he was granted an impressive 45-minute meeting
with Catholicism's popular
pontiff, a man Peres asserts is more powerful than the United Nations
for advocating peace.
The problem, as Peres sees it, is that "in the past, most wars were
motivated by the idea of nationality. Today, however, they are being
waged primarily in the name of religion."
In an exclusive interview with the Catholic periodical, Famiglia
Cristiana (The Christian Family), Peres divulged his plans:
for the first time in history, the Holy Father is a leader not only
respected by many people, but also by different religions and their
"In fact," Peres clarified, "he is perhaps the only truly respected
leader" in the world
While Francis has refrained
from commenting on Peres' assessment, that same silence permits it. It
also permits the framework of Peres' idea to be tested in the crucible
of world opinion.
"The United Nations has had its day," Peres opined. "What we need
is an organization of United Religions, a United Nations of religions."
"This will be the best way,"
he continued, "to fight
terrorists who kill in the name of faith."
Accordingly, "there should
be a Charter of United Religions, just as there is a UN Charter.
This is what I have proposed to the pope."
Fulvio Scaglione, deputy managing editor of Famiglia Cristiana, asked,
"Would you see the pope as the
leader of United Religions?"
"Yes," Peres replied. And not only
because Francis is a globally respected leader. He is also the best
the world needs "...an indisputable moral authority that says out loud,
"No, God does not want this and will not allow it. We must fight
against exploitation in the name of God."
To better understand the symbolism and
significance of what Mr. Peres has called for, read
originally published twenty-five years ago.