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Pope welcomes arrival of common European currency

Pope John Paul II has welcomed the arrival of Europe's common currency, expressing the hope that the Euro will promote development and unity.

"I address a special wish for peace and prosperity to the nations of the European Union that, today with the single currency, accomplish a historical goal," he said at a New Year's Day Mass.

"Justice and solidarity grow in all of Europe, to the advantage of the entire human family!" he added.

A dozen nations, including Italy and the Vatican, have adopted the euro. The Vatican is being allowed to mint its own euro coins bearing John Paul's image on one side. It will use the standard euro bank notes.