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Pope applauds love of one's country
    Pope John Paul has said that love for one's country is a value to be fostered.
    In his New Year message he said "the need to accept one's own culture as a structuring element of one's personality, especially in the initial stages of life, is a fact of universal experience whose importance can hardly be overestimated".
    But he warned that such patriotism should be "without narrow-mindedness".
    It should be felt in the context of love for the whole human family and "avoid those pathological manifestations which occur when the sense of belonging turns into self-exaltation, the rejection of diversity, and forms of nationalism, racism and xenophobia".
    Calling for dialogue between cultures and traditions, he said that "at the dawn of a new millennium there is growing hope that relationships between people will be increasingly inspired by the ideal of a truly universal brotherhood".
Irish Times