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Pope laments terrorism in end of year message

Pope John Paul II lamented the continuing threat of terrorism and the toll of the world's "forgotten" wars in an end-of-the-year message to Vatican officials on Saturday.

The Holy Father cited current conflicts and those that threaten to explode in outlining the state of the Catholic Church in 2002 to the Roman Curia.

"The situation of the Holy Land remains emblematic, but other 'forgotten' wars are no less devastating," the pope said. "In addition, terrorism continues to kill many victims and digs new trenches."

It was the second message of peace the pope has issued this holiday season. Earlier last week, John Paul released his message for the Church's World Day of Peace on New Year's Day, in which he decried the political stalemate in the Middle East and the disregard for human rights in the region.

"How can we not hope that hearts open, above all the hearts of the young, to welcome those values to build a future of true and durable peace," the Pope said on Saturday.

He cited a radio message delivered by World War II-era Pope Pius XII -- criticised by Jews for failing to speak out during the Holocaust -- in which the then-pontiff lamented the "appalling" toll the war had taken.

John Paul also complained about the destruction of the environment and highlighted a joint statement he signed in June with the spiritual leader of Orthodox Christians, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, which said the protection of the environment was a "moral and spiritual" duty of all.


Pope tells politicians they're accountable for peace (18/12/02)
Papal Message for World Day of Peace

23 Dec 2002