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Pope says he's following Iraqi war with 'heavy heart'

Pope John Paul II yesterday urged the faithful to pray for peace, saying that he's following the news of the war in Iraq with a "heavy heart".

Some in the crowd of 10,000 people at the weekly audience in St. Peter's Square waved rainbow-colored peace banners as the Pope spoke.

John Paul said that while praying the rosary, he thought "about the news from Iraq with a heavy heart without forgetting the other conflicts that bloody the world."

He delivered a catechesis on Psalm 89, contrasting human fragility with God's power and glory. Encouraging his audience to reflect on the psalm, the Holy Father expressed the wish that "a notion of eternity may penetrate our short lives and our actions."

He then said he's praying fervently for peace in Iraq, "without forgetting the other conflicts that rage around the world." He asked his listeners to "persevere in praying the Rosary to beg for peace."

Reuters/Catholic World News

Iraq: A difficult moment in history, says the Pope (AGI)
May divine grace sustain our days marked by trial (Vatican Information Service)
Pope says heart "oppressed" by war in Iraq (Reuters)
Vatican says it wasn't asked to take diplomatic action against Iraq (Catholic News Service)

27 Mar 2003