VATICAN CITY (CNS): In his annual “state of the world” address to diplomats, Pope John Paul II urged the international community to help Iraqis “retake the reins” of their country and establish a democracy that reflects their aspirations.
The Pope’s comments on January 12 looked beyond his own strong opposition to the war in Iraq and focused instead on the present challenges after the fall of former President Saddam Hussein’s regime.
The Pope told more than 100 ambassadors accredited to the Holy See, “What is important today is that the international community help the Iraqis so that they are able to retake the reins of their country and democratically determine a political and economic system consistent with their aspirations.’
The Pope told the ambassadors that he was communicating to the world through them and that he felt especially close to the many people suffering from armed conflict, poverty, epidemics and injustice.
At the beginning of 2004, he said, peace is threatened in too many places around the globe.