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Pope tells NZ PM Clark to watch racial tension

Pope John Paul II has encouraged New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark to foster dialogue in a world "so troubled by the scourge of racial division and conflict".

Miss Clark and husband Professor Peter Davis met the Holy Father at the Vatican on Friday.

During a short speech, the Pope said NZ had always cherished the fundamental values of freedom, justice and peace. It had generously sought to defend and promote those values in the Pacific and beyond.

In his remarks about racial tension, it is not clear that the Pope was referring specifically to the discontent Miss Clark has created this month among the country's Maori over her government's policy on ownership of New Zealand's coastline.

The Holy Father said: "On acknowledging the fundamental God-given dignity of every person, dialogue leads to a recognition of diversity, while opening the mind to the mutual acceptance and genuine collaboration demanded by the human family's basic vocation to unity."

Helen Clark went on to meet the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Angelo Sodano.

She nearly did not make the papal audience. Her convoy from Cassino to Rome was escorted by several police cars but the high-speed dash ran into heavy traffic and reached the Vatican with only minutes to spare.

Helen Clark gifts Pope with NZ bowl during meeting (NZ Herald/NZPA 22/5/04)

Pope's Greetings to Prime Minister of New Zealand (Zenit 21/5/04)
Pope Encourages New Zealander to Foster Dialogue (Zenit 21/5/04)
Clark meets Pope for 5 minutes (NZCity/IRN 22/5/04)
Pope speaks of freedom, justice and peace during private audience (NZPA/ 22/5/04)
PM granted audience with the Pope (Dominion Post/ 10/5/04)
Pope Blesses New Zealand And Her Peoples (Scoop 23/5/04)
Pope reminds New Zealand prime minister of freedom's heavy price (Catholic News Service 21/5/04)
Clark could lose majority as Maori fury grows (Sydney Morning Herald 5/5/04)

Pope calls for regulation of media (Ireland Online 23/5/04)
Pope Urges Stronger Defense of Marriage (The Guardian 23/5/04)
Pope Calls for Regulation of Media (The Scotsman 23/5/04)
Happy 84th, John Paul; Lineamenta on Eucharist for bishops synod released; Priests for Life in Rome; Arinze addresses interreligious dialogue; Iraqi prisoner abuse reactions (National Catholic Reporter 21/5/04)
Media is harming the family, says Pope (Reuters/ABC 23/5/04)
Pope will urge Bush to stop using force (The Tablet 22/5/04)
Pope tells U.S. bishops that church needs to do more in support of marriage (Associated Press/Denton Record-Chronicle 22/5/04)
Visit to Switzerland: When young people call, this pope answers (Catholic News Service 21/5/04)
Pope's sash from 1981 shooting to be displayed at Polish shrine (Catholic News Service 21/5/04)
Message of the Holy Father for the 38th World Communications Day (
Pope feels "heavy weight" of international crises (Catholic World News 21/5/04)
Media need genuine apostolic spirit in service of life and family, pope says ( 23/5/04)
MEDIA SHOULD PROVIDE POSITIVE ROLE MODELS (Vatican Information Service 21/5/04)
Pope Says Marriage Is Between Heterosexuals (Reuters 22/5/04)
Peter Cullinane - Bishop of Palmerston North: On being counter-cultural

24 May 2004