The Pope's appeal - John Paul II

The Pope's appeal

John Paul II Traces

2/28/2003 - War & Peace

Dearest brothers and sisters!
The international community has been living for months in great apprehension because of the danger of a war that could upset the entire region of the Middle East and aggravate the tensions that are unfortunately already present at this beginning of the third millennium. It is a duty for believers, regardless of the religion to which they belong, to proclaim that we shall never be happy one against the other; the future of mankind can never be ensured by terrorism and the logic of war. We Christians, in particular, are called to be sentinels of peace, in the places where we live and work. We are asked to be vigilant, so that consciences may not yield to the temptation of egoism, falsehood, and violence. Therefore, I invite all Catholics to dedicate with special intensity March 5th, Ash Wednesday, to prayer and fasting for the cause of peace, especially in the Middle East. We shall implore God, above all, for the conversion of hearts and for far-sightedness in making just decisions to resolve with adequate and peaceful means the conflicts that hinder the pilgrimage of mankind in this our time. In every Marian sanctuary, a heartfelt prayer for peace will be raised to heaven with the recitation of the Holy Rosary. I trust that also in parishes and families, the Rosary will be prayed for this great cause on which the good of all depends. This common invocation will be accompanied by fasting, an expression of penance for the hatred and violence that contaminate human relations. Christians share the ancient practice of fasting with many brothers and sisters of other religions, who in this way aim at stripping away all pride and opening themselves up to receiving from God the greatest and most necessary gifts, among them peace in particular. From this very moment, we invoke for this initiative, placed at the beginning of Lent, the special assistance of Mary Most Holy, Queen of Peace. Through her intercession, may the evangelical beatitude, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Mt 5:9) resonate with new force in the world and find concrete acceptance!
Angelus, Sunday, February 23, 2003

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