The TED Prize’s Charter for Compassion reached Pope Benedict XVII this week, just days before the Pope announced to the world that he would be resigning. A plaque engraved with the Charter was presented to the Pope on Wednesday in Vatican City by TED’s European director, Bruno Giussani. The meeting, pictured above, took place on the margins of the weekly General Audience, when Giussani could inform the catholic Pontiff of the Charter’s origin, development and aims. Receiving the plaque was one of the Pope’s last actions in the days before he announced that he would be resigning on February 28, making him the first Pope in six centuries to step down. The reason he cited: advanced age.
Karen Armstrong: My wish: The Charter for CompassionThe Charter for Compassion was imagined by 2008 TED Prize winner, religion scholar Karen Armstrong. (Watch her talk). It was written by the Council of Conscience — a multi-faith, multi-national group made of personalities representing six religions (Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism) with input from thousands of people through an online platform. The Charter is an attempt to define in clear terms the common ground among these religions, the principle they all share: that of Compassion and the “Golden Rule.”
The Charter was unveiled in November 2009 and, with the support of the nonprofit Fetzer Institute, it has been translated into more than 30 languages. The charter is distributed online — and hundreds of events, public readings and discussions have taken place around the Charter with many more planned. Tens of thousands of people have affirmed the charter, and wooden plaques of the text are affixed on many religious buildings around the world. One of these plaques is now at the Vatican.