Pope's Easter Sunday plea to avoid clash between cultures and religions
Pope John Paul II appealed in his Easter Sunday message for peace in Iraq and in the world's forgotten confllicts which he said threaten "a tragic clash between cultures and religions".
The Holy Father expressed his "profound grief" over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which he noted showed "no sign of ceasing."
"Let there be an end to the chain of hatred and terrorism, which threatens the ordinary development of the human family. May God grant that we be free from the peril of a tragic clash between cultures and religions."
The pope's message was delivered to more than 50,000 pilgrims in a damp St Peter's square and millions watching live on television on Easter Sunday, which marks the resurrection of Christ, the most joyous day of the Christian calendar.
"However dark the horizon of humanity may seem, today we celebrate the radiant triumph of Easter joy... let no one yield to dismay and lack of trust," said the pope.
The pope appeared tired but in relatively good form after presiding at lengthy holy week ceremonies during which, for the first time, he remained seated throughout.
John Paul II, known to have been deeply pained by the US-led war in Iraq, once again showed his concern for Iraq's people. "With the ssupport of the international community, may the Iraqi people become the protagonists of the collective rebuilding of their country."
But he also called for peace in other parts of the world "where forgotten wars and protracted hostilities are causing deaths and injuries amid silence and neglect on the part of considerable sectors of public opinion."
John Paul Delivers Papal Plea for Peace (Voice of America)
Priests must be guided by love, pope says at Holy Thursday Mass (Catholic News Service)
Pope Presides at Colosseum on Good Friday (Zenit)
Pope's plea for the war-ravaged (AFP)
John Paul II's Easter Message (text, Zenit)
John Paul II Hears Confessions in St. Peter's (Zenit)
John Paul II Baptizes 7 Adults During Easter Vigil (Zenit)
Pope's Blessings on Easter Sunday (DIVE News)
Peace: Papal Preacher Criticizes Peace Imposed by Arms (Vidimus Dominum)
Work tirelessly for peace, says Pope (Ananova)
Pope says Iraqis should determine their future (Ananova)
22 Apr 2003