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Volume 2, Number 47 January 5 - 11, 2003 Quezon City, Philippines
for Pope's anti-war sermon
Richard Owen in Rome
Pope made clear his opposition yesterday to war against Iraq and called for an
end to violence in the Middle East.
his homily for New Year's Day during Mass at St Peter's Basilica, the Pope said
that peace was both possible and right despite repeated attacks on the concept
of peaceful cohabitation between peoples.
remarks were greeted with applause - unusual during Mass - as he emphasised that
peace was a "precious gift from God" that had to be built with effort.
Pope did not refer specifically to Iraq, but in a clear allusion to preparations
for war against President Saddam Hussein he called for peaceful means of
settlement "in the face of today's conflicts and the menacing tensions of
Pope, 82, spoke in a clear voice, with only an occasional slurring of words
owing to Parkinson's disease. But he used a mobile platform to move around and
left the conduct of the Mass to Cardinal
Sodano, the Vatican Secretary of State and a potential successor.
an impassioned appeal for a resumption of dialogue in the Middle East, the Pope
said: "The dramatic and persistent tensions in the region make it all the
more urgent to find a positive solution to the fratricidal and senseless
conflict which has bloodied it for too long."
pontiff said that Pope John XXIII had issued the encyclical Pacem in Terris,
shortly before his death 40 years ago, in which he called for peace and world
order in the face of "the nightmare of nuclear war".
threat had now been contained, the Pope said, and the Cold War had come to an
end, but there were still "wars and rumours of wars".
threats had arisen, with terrorists feeding on the gap between the West and the
Third World to create a new "world disorder". This made Pope John
XXIII's vision of a world order based on "human rights and human
dignity" more relevant than ever, the Pope said.
January 2, 2003
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