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Pope says death penalty won't defeat terrorism

Pope John Paul II has said that the promotion of respect for the dignity of the human person - and not the death penalty - will overcome terrorism.

The Holy Father expressed his views while receiving the credentials of the new ambassador of the Philippines to the Holy See. The Philippines revived the death penalty last year after a moratorium.

Speaking in English, the Pope appealed to all parties in the Philippines "to end the terrorism which continues to cause so much suffering to the civilian population".

He urged them to "embrace the path of dialogue which alone will enable the people of the region to create a society that guarantees justice, peace and harmony for all".

"We can together eliminate the social and cultural causes of terrorism by teaching the greatness and dignity of the human person, and by spreading a clearer sense of the oneness of the human family," the Holy Father added.

Repeating his opposition to the death penalty, he appealed for respect of the Philippine Constitution, "which explicitly recognises the sanctity of family life and the protection of the unborn from the moment of conception."

"Aware that the issue of capital punishment and its use has again become an important topic in your national debate, I would reiterate that the ends of justice in today's world seem better served by not resorting to the death penalty," he said.

Death Penalty Won't Defeat Terrorism, Says John Paul II (Zenit 19/4/04)

Franciscans speak out at the UN on the death penalty (Franciscans International 20/4/04)
Fight Against Poverty Must Actively Involve the Poor, Says Pope (Zenit 19/4/04)
The Bible, source of orientation for human behavior (Vatican Information Service 20/4/04)
Pope backs campaign against death penalty (CathNews 2/12/03)
Cherie Blair attacks US on death penalty in Catholic paper (CathNews 9/2/04)
Pontifical Council backs groups opposed to death penalty (CathNews 11/3/03)
Death Penalty (Australian Catholic Social Justice Council)
Sr Helen Prejean: Making a Difference (Madonna, November 2003)
The Death Penalty and the Catholic Church (St Anthony Messenger)

21 Apr 2004