[R-G] Pope Calls for Fast Against War in Iraq
DavidMcR at aol.com
DavidMcR at aol.com
Tue Feb 25 22:19:03 MST 2003
In a message dated 2/25/03 3:39:46 AM Eastern Standard Time,
geese4peace at yahoo.com writes:
World - AP Europe
Pope Calls for Fast Against War in Iraq
Sun Feb 23, 2003
By FRANCES D'EMILIO, Associated Press Writer
VATICAN CITY - Pope John Paul II called on Catholics to fast on Ash
Wednesday in the name of peace and said again on Sunday he worried a
U.S.-led war against Iraq could unsettle the entire Middle East.
Looking wan and tired, John Paul opened his traditional Sunday remarks
from his studio window overlooking St. Peter's Square by denouncing war
as a way to resolve the conflict.
"We Christians in particular are called upon to be sentinels of peace,"
John Paul said, calling on Catholics to dedicate their fasting on Ash
Wednesday, March 5, for the cause of peace.
On that day, the pope said, faithful will pray for "the conversion of
hearts and the long-range vision of just decisions to resolve disputes
with adequate and peaceful means."
He said that the fast, which Catholics traditionally conduct at the
start of Lent to prepare themselves for Easter, is an "expression of
penitence for the hate and violence which pollute human relations."
Fasting, an ancient practice shared by other religions, he said, also
lets faithful "shed themselves of all arrogance."
Rainbow-hued peace banners fluttered in the crowd of tourists and
pilgrims in the square. Surveys have shown Italians and many other
Europeans oppose war, even if waged under the aegis of the United
Nations, and earlier this month, about 1 million Italians marched
through Rome to protest against the United States and its push for
using military force.
"For months the international community is living in great apprehension
for the danger of a war, which could unsettle the entire Middle East
region and aggravate the tensions unfortunately already present in this
beginning of the third millennium," the pontiff said.
"It is the duty of all believers, to whichever religion they belong, to
proclaim that we can never be happy pitted one against the other; the
future of humanity will never be able to be secured by terrorism and by
the logic of war," John Paul said.
While the pope has been hailed as a champion of peace by anti-war
demonstrators ranging from environmentalists to communists, some in
Italy challenged his view.
Radical Party leaders Sunday denounced what they saw as the pontiff's
"equating terrorism and war, whatever war." Led by Marco Panella, the
Radicals say they would like to see Saddam Hussein in exile and a
democratic government under U.N. auspices to replace the Iraqi leader.
John Paul has been holding practically daily meetings with key players
in the crisis over Iraq. In his latest effort, on Saturday, he met with
British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who has been trying to line up
support in Europe and elsewhere for Washington's insistence that
military force is necessary if Baghdad doesn't quickly and completely
comply with U.N. disarmament resolutions.
John Paul, 82 and struggling with Parkinson's disease and other health
problems, appeared weary, his voice trailing off in the final words of
his appeal, "blessed are the peacemakers," a phrase from the Gospel of
John Paul made similar calls against conflict in the months before the
1991 Gulf War, but in this campaign, with the memory of the Sept. 11
terrorist attacks making the world particularly apprehensive, he has
seemed more determined than ever to do his part to persuade
decision-makers against going to war.
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