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Bishops call on Australian Catholics to step up peace effort

The Australian Bishops have issued a statement urging calm within the community in responding to terrorism, stressing the need for all to pray and work for peace "at a time of great tension in the world".

"The Bali bombing has shocked all Australians," they said. "The nation has struggled to come to terms with the kind of tragedy we have seen in other parts of the world, but never known so close to home."

The bishops called on Australians to turn their attention to the Middle East, to pray for justice and peace in a world facing the prospect of yet another war in the Middle East.

Highlighting the role of the United Nations Security Council in ensuring that Iraq meets its obligation to disarm, they urged "great restraint at this most delicate point".

"It is vital for the international community to recognise that the United Nations is the legitimate authority in the administration of Resolution 1441," they said.

The Bishops also stressed the importance of solidarity with the people of Iraq. Recurrent war and the resulting humanitarian crises have already inflicted grave suffering upon the population, and any further conflict would be a human catastrophe, with the weakest inevitably the most.

We pray that the entire human family will embrace what John Paul II has insisted, that there is "no peace without justice, no justice without forgiveness", and that this Christmas time will see all people of good will renew their commitment to build a world of justice, truth and love, where fear and violence are no more.

Australian Catholic Bishops Conference

Melbourne Justice Commission urges boycott of 'blood tax' (2/10/02)
Washington Archbishop cautions lawmakers on Iraq war (30/9/02)
Catholic agency worried about 'untold suffering' in Iraq war (20/9/02)

2 Dec 2002