Pope endorses Year of the Mountain
Pope John Paul II, an avid skier and bushwalker until frail health slowed him down, has called on nature - lovers to protect mountains and their environment.
Noting that the United Nations has declared 2002 to be the year of the mountain, John Paul made safeguarding mountains a key part of his remarks Sunday to tourists gathered in St. Peter's Square.
"Mountains have always been able to fascinate the human spirit, so much so that in the Bible, they were considered a special place to meet God," said John Paul, who has spent many vacations in the Italian Alps.
Until a few years ago, John Paul sometimes surprised hikers in remote parts of the Italian mountains when he hiked.
Before praying the Angelus at midday on Sunday with thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father called for "a radical cultural change ... from the indiscriminate use of resources to a responsible administration of the goods offered to us by creation."
International Year of Mountains 2002
The Pope's Favorite Place
Pope finds relaxation in mountains (Catholic World News 12/6/96)
12 Nov 2002