JOHN PAUL II
Sunday, 20 January 2002
Dear Brothers and sisters,
1. After the tragic attack last 11 September, that we never forget, and with the threat of new conflicts, believers feel the urgency to intensify their prayer for peace, because it is above all the gift of God. This is the spirit in which, the
Day of Fasting was observed last 14 December, with great consensus, and, in the same spirit, the Day of Prayer for Peace will be held in Assisi this coming 24 January. Representatives of the different Christian denominations and of other religions will take part. Thus we will repeat the experience of 27 October 1986 when, for the first time, within the walls of the city of St Francis, the representatives of all the world's religions gathered together to raise to Heaven a fervent plea for peace.
On this basis, not only men and women of different religious affiliation can collaborate, but indeed must engage in defending and promoting effectively the recognition of human rights, an indispensable condition for authentic and lasting peace. In the face of the violence that today wreaks havoc in so many of the earth's regions, they feel the need to show that religions are a factor of solidarity, by repudiating and isolating those who abuse the Name of God for purposes or with methods that in reality offend him.
After praying the Angelus the Holy Father said:
Once again - and with great sadness - I am forced to recall the tragic situation in the Holy Land, where every day repeated attacks and reprisals sow blood and death.
There is no way out of this perverse logic and it is painful to see how the leaders of the conflict have gone down a blind alley.
May God, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, enlighten the mind and heart of every person of good will!
I also assure my spiritual closeness to the peoples struck by the fury unleashed by the Nyiragongo Volcano, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, that has once again become active, erupting with unheard of violence. Let us bring concrete assistance to all who are suffering because of this great disaster!
© Copyright 2002 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana