|East Timor||POPE EXPRESSES SORROW IN LETTER TO BISHOPS|
In a letter addressed to East Timor's two bishops late last week, Pope John Paul II expressed his most profound distress at the present suffering of the East Timorese people.
He said: "It is with great sadness that hour by hour I am receiving ever more tragic news from the cherished land of East Timor and I am profoundly saddened that the glimmers of hope born of the recent popular consultation have been transformed into the terror of today, which nothing and no one can justify.
"In these hours of suffering, I wish to send to both of you, to the clergy, seminarians, religious and faithful of the two Dioceses this expression of my spiritual closeness, while remembering in prayer those who have died, the injured, the refugees, the deportees and all who are in distress.
"I call on everyone to cling to hope in the victory of the Cross, even as they are living once again the sorrowful experience of the passion. In most firmly condemning the violence, which has also been furiously unleashed against the personnel and property of the Catholic Church, I implore those responsible for so many acts of wickedness to abandon their murderous and destructive intentions.
"It is also my heartfelt wish that as soon as possible Indonesia and the International Community will put an end to the slaughter and find effective ways to meet the legitimate aspirations of the Timorese population. With such sentiments and fervent wishes, and as a pledge of divine comfort, I impart with all my heart to you and your Christian communities my Apostolic Blessing".
MISNA 12:40pm 13/9/99