Pope tells military to be more sensitive to suffering
Pope John Paul II, addressing veterans of peacekeeping and humanitarian missions around the world on Sunday, urged soldiers and police to be sensitive to the suffering of the weak.
Associated Press reports that the Holy Father braved the rain and chill to preside at a two-hour Holy Year ceremony in St Peter's Square that was part of the Jubilee of Military and Police personnel. Close to 100,000 attended the event.
The pope, noting his own father in Poland had served in the military, said he was sympathetic to the difficulties of military life, and he offered special greeting to representatives from the peacekeeping force in the Balkans.
"I pray so that the not-easy service of the army and the police be always marked by deep sensitivity to the suffering and needs of the weakest," the pope said.
Peacekeepers, he added, should be "at the service of the great values of life, of justice, of pardon, of freedom."
During his homily, the pope reiterated the Vatican's "humanitarian interference" policy for use of military force -- "the extreme attempt to stop the hand of the unjust aggressor" if political efforts fail.