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Pope proposes fastng as weapon against hatred and violence

Pope John Paul II has suggesting fasting and prayer are "weapons" that may overcome the present hatred and violence.

"Peace and violence sprout in man's heart, over which only God has power," the Pope said. "Convinced of this, believers have always adopted against the gravest dangers, the weapons of fasting and prayer, coupled with concrete works of charity."

The Holy Father's thoughts on fasting were expressed during the midday Angelus at St Peter's Square on Sunday.

"In the present complex international situation, humanity is called to mobilize its best energies, so that love will prevail over hatred, peace over war, truth over falsehood, forgiveness over revenge," he said.

Given the existing situation, the Holy Father has invited Catholics worldwide to observe a day of fast and prayer this Friday "to implore God for a stable peace, founded on justice."

Pleased that the initiative has received the support of Jews and Muslims and others, he explained that the believer, by fasting, commits himself to conversion of heart and to actions that promote "greater justice toward God and one's neighbor."

"By fasting, one acknowledges with trusting humility that authentic personal and social renewal can only come from God, on whom we all depend totally," John Paul II added. "Moreover, beyond all pietism and deceptive assistance, fasting also makes possible the sharing of daily bread with those who are deprived."

Angelus (9/12/01)