Pope says bloodshed threatens human dignity

In the Middle East, in Africa and wherever violence and extreme poverty threaten human life and dignity, people must recognise the truth that all people are created equal and have a right to exist in freedom, Pope Benedict XVI has told diplomats gathered at the Vatican.

"Bloodshed does not cry out for revenge, but begs for respect for life, for peace," the Holy Father said on Monday in his address to ambassadors and other diplomats representing their nations at the Vatican.

Catholic News Service rerpots that the pope specifically mentioned ongoing tensions in Israel and the Palestinian territories, Lebanon, Iraq, the Darfur region of Sudan and the Great Lakes region of Africa.

He spoke about the threat to peace caused by terrorism, extreme poverty and human trafficking.

The pope said the resolution of differences must be based on the truth about people and their communities, that they are equal but have legitimate differences that must be balanced.

Pope Benedict said the Israeli-Palestinian conflict illustrates what he means: "The State of Israel has to be able to exist peacefully in conformity with the norms of international law" and "the Palestinian people has to be able to develop serenely its own democratic institutions for a free and prosperous future."

A commitment to truth, he said, also implies an individual or a nation is able to recognize when it has made a mistake and is able to seek forgiveness.

Pope Benedict said he knows some people will counter by saying, "Differing convictions about the truth cause tensions, misunderstandings, disputes, and these are all the more serious, the deeper the convictions underlying them."

However, he said, a closer look reveals that conflict has "little or nothing to do with truth or religion" and that a sincere commitment to truth and to the respect for freedom demanded by truth is lacking when one or both sides resort to violence.

"Where the Catholic Church herself is concerned, insofar as serious mistakes were made in the past by some of her members and by her institutions, she condemns those mistakes, and she has not hesitated to ask for forgiveness," he said.

Pope Benedict repeated the words of Pope John Paul II: "There can be no peace without justice, no justice without forgiveness."

War, poverty ignore truth about human dignity, pope tells diplomats (Catholic News Service 9/1/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Address of His Holiness Benedict XVI to the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See for the traditional exchange of New Year greetings (9/1/05)

Sandro Magister: Finally, the Truth. What the Pope Said to the Diplomatic Corps (L'Espresso 10/1/06)
Pope Benedict XVI: peace damaged by terror, egoism and lack of freedom (AsiaNews.it 9/1/06)
Admitting past mistakes is key to Christian unity, pope says (Catholic News Service 9/1/06)
Pope baptizes 10 infants, urges parents to lead them on path of truth (Catholic News Service 9/1/06)
Pope John Paul II's would-be assassin to be freed from Turkish prison (Catholic News Service 9/1/06)
Former secretary of John Paul II accepting of decision to free Mehmet Ali Agca (Catholic News Agency 10/1/06)
New Taizé leader meets Pope Benedict (catholicireland.net 10/1/06)
Pope urges cuts in spending on arms to feed poor (Ekklesia 10/1/06)
Pope's attacker 'in grave danger' (The Australian 11/1/06)
No peace where there's hunger, says Benedict XVI (The Universe 10/1/06)
Solution possible to Holy Land conflict, says Pope (The Universe 10/1/06)
No Peace Where There's Hunger, Says Benedict XVI (Zenit 9/1/06)
Pontiff Presents Truth as a Path to Peace (Zenit 9/1/06)
Solution Possible to Holy-Land Conflict, Says Pope (Zenit 9/1/06)
Cultural Exchanges Urged by Holy Father (Zenit 9/1/06)
Holy See Has Diplomatic Relations With 174 Nations (Zenit 9/1/06)

11 Jan 2006