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Pope insists peace remains possible

Stressing that peace remains possible, Pope John Paul II has said the war against terror must be waged on both political and educational fronts, and include clear analysis of the reasons behind terrorist attacks.

In his message for 1 January's World Day of Peace, he addressed leaders of nations, jurists, teachers of the young and those tempted to turn to terrorism, in a statement titled An ever timely commitment: teaching peace.

"All of you, hear the humble appeal of the Successor of Peter who cries out: today too, at the beginning of the New Year 2004, peace remains possible. And if peace is possible, it is also a duty," he said.

The Pope warned against the temptation to yield to fatalism, as if peace were an unattainable ideal.

"The Church, on the other hand, has always taught and continues today to teach a very simple axiom: peace is possible," he said.

The message focuses on the scourge of terrorism, saying that the use of force is not the sole answer in combating terrorist operations.

"It is essential that the use of force, even when necessary, be accompanied by a courageous and lucid analysis of the reasons behind terrorist attacks," the Pope said.

"The fight against terrorism must be conducted also on the political and educational levels."

Particular attention must be paid to eliminating the underlying causes of situations of injustice and to insisting on an education inspired by respect for human life in every situation.

The Pope said international law was also crucial in the fight against terrorism.

Peace remains possible: Pope John Paul II (Australian Catholic Bishops Conference 16/12/03)

Message of his holiness Pope John Paul II for the celebration of the World Day of Peace - 1/1/04 - An ever timely commitment: Teaching peace
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17 Dec 2003