Pope tells world: Don't resign yourself to war
Pope John Paul, speaking ahead of a flurry of Vatican diplomatic efforts to avert conflict in Iraq, on Saturday urged the world not to resign itself to war.
"We have to multiply efforts," he said. "We can't stop when faced with either terror attacks or the threats that are on the horizon. We should never resign ourselves, almost as if war is inevitable."
The Holy Father made his an appeal in an address to members of Italy's Sant' Egidio peace group, which brokered a deal that ended the civil war in Mozambique 10 years ago.
His words also preceded what looks to be an intense period of efforts by the Holy See to avert a possible conflict.
The pope will meet Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz on Friday and a Vatican source said the Pope would meet UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan at the Vatican later this month, most likely on 18 February.
The pope told the peace group that the current moment was "marked by tensions and winds of war" and that humanity was being tempted by "hate and violence."
He called on all people to take up a path that leads to peace, dialogue and hope.
The pope held talks with German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer on Friday and made a joint appeal for peace.
Papal envoy to visit Iraq (AP)
Rome resists Bush's plea for a blessing on aggression (Ray Cassin in The Sunday Age)
Don't use war to respond to Iraq, Vatican rep says after Powell talk
There is still time (NZ Church Leaders) - "We invite the members of our churches and all people of goodwill in this country to join us in an emphatic 'no" against this war... We are communicating our convictions to the New Zealand Government and the New Zealand based diplomatic authorities of the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia."
Pope and German Foreign Minister Discuss Iraq and Europe (Zenit)
Iraq: In War Jesuits not to Abandon Poor, Women, Children (Vidimus Dominum)
Iraq: Jesuits: No Moral Justification for a Preventive War (Vidimus Dominum)
Pope steps up peace drive (Reuters)
Pope, German Foreign Minister Discuss Iraq Crisis (Catholic World News)
10 Feb 2003