Pope John Paul II has written to Archbishop Franc Perko of Belgrade to express his profound sorrow about the deteriorating humanitarian situation.
    The Pope expressed his "special affection" for all the "people of good will who work to alleviate the sufferings of others, who have been deprived of the affection of their loved ones, and unjustly forced to leave their homes and obligations and live far from their land."
    He promised the Archbishop of Belgrade and all the Yugoslavian bishops that the Holy See "will continue with its commitment to peace, to avoid further suffering to these peoples, especially in Kosovo, who have been so harshly affected" by the war.
    The Holy Father said he would "remind all those responsible at the national and international level, that the way of dialogue is always possible, and that this way can always lead to honorable solutions among the interested parties, with respect for the men and women of the same country, all of whom are children of the same Father who is in heaven."
    The Pontiff ended his letter by guaranteeing "the prayer of the whole Church, which is closer than ever to Yugoslav Catholics," for peace.
    Meanwhile the leaders of the various religious denominations in Yugoslavia have made a joint appeal for an end to violent actions, both in Kosovo and by NATO, as soon as possible.
    The document was signed by Serbian Orthodox Patriarch Pavle, by Catholic Archbishop Franc Perko of Belgrade, and by the highest local representatives of Judaism and Islam. It refers to the dramatic consequences of the allied bombing, the high percentage of civilian victims and the enormous material damage which "runs the risk of strangling the life of this country."

10:37am 21/4/99 / Zenit


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