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Pope's Peace Day message that violence can't solve problems

Pope John Paul II has said in his message for World Peace Day 2005 that continuing tension and bloodshed in Iraq, the Holy Land and Africa are proof that war and retaliation cannot bring peace.

"To attain the good of peace there must be a clear and conscious acknowledgment that violence is an unacceptable evil and that it never solves problems," the Holy Father wrote in his message for the New Year's Day observance.

Catholic News Service reports that the message, sent to heads of state around the world, was released yesterday at a Vatican press conference led by Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

The theme of the 2005 message was: "Do Not Be Overcome by Evil, but Overcome Evil With Good."

The cardinal said that, like the Old Testament prophets, the pope is heard by people, but often they really do not listen.

"It is the obligation of the pope, every bishop and every priest to educate consciences, to try to convince people to do good rather than evil," Cardinal Martino said. "If someone then goes out and sins, whose fault is it? Evil exists because people are free to choose."

But whatever the concrete outcome of the annual message, "this pope and the next pope will continue to cry out to the four corners of the world. It is up to humanity to listen," the cardinal said.

In his message, Pope John Paul wrote, "Peace is the outcome of a long and demanding battle which is only won when evil is defeated by good."

Violent conflicts around the world and the tremendous suffering and injustice that accompany them are proof that "the only true constructive choice is, as St. Paul proposes, to flee what is evil and hold fast to what is good," he said.

"The evils of a social and political nature which afflict the world, particularly those provoked by outbreaks of violence, are to be vigorously condemned," he said.

In World Peace Day message, pope says violence is unacceptable evil (Catholic News Service 16/12/04)

Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace
World Days of Peace | Message for XXXVIII World Day For Peace 2005

World Racked by Political, Social 'Evil' -- Pope (Reuters/ABC USA 16/12/04)
Pope condemns violence in annual peace message (ABC/AFP 17/12/04)
World Peace Day message: conquer evil with good (Catholic World News 16/12/04)
Message of Pope for World Peace Day (Missionary Service News Agency 16/12/04)
Cardinal Martino on message of Pope for World Peace Day (Missionary Service News Agency 16/12/04)
World Peace Day Message: Overcome evil with good (Vatican Information Service 16/12/04)
Human development not only socio-economic, Pope says in message for Peace Day (Catholic News Agency 16/12/04)

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17 Dec 2004