VATICAN CITY (CNS): Reviewing the troubled world situation, Pope John Paul II said Christians contribute to peace by offering – especially to Muslims – the values of forgiveness and humility before God and neighbour.
In an annual “state of the world” address to Vatican-accredited diplomats on January 10, the Pope also said fresh global tensions at the start of 2002 had “one advantage” of forcing people to re-examine fundamental human and spiritual truths.
Picking up a theme from his message for World Day of Peace 2002, the Pope told the diplomats he wanted to emphasise again to the international community that killing in the name of God “is an act of blasphemy and a perversion of religion”.
“It is a profanation of religion to declare oneself a terrorist in the name of God, to do violence to others in his name,” he said.
The Pope’s survey of humanity’s “setbacks” in the past year focused special attention on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which he said had made the Holy Land, “through man’s fault, a land of fire and blood”.
The Pope said the “legitimate fight against terrorism” following the September 11 attacks in New York and Washington also should prompt reflection on “the factors underlying such acts”, the most effective means of eradicating terrorism, and “the measures to be taken to bring about a process of ‘healing’ in order to overcome fear and to avoid evil being added to evil, violence to violence”.
The Pope also warned the international community not to ignore less noticed situations of human misery in Africa and Latin America, especially recently bankrupted Argentina.
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