Pope´s Address Before Praying "Regina Caeli"

Assails «Absurd Spiral of Violence» in Mideast

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 13, 2001 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the full text of John Paul II´s address, given at St. Peter´s Square before he prayed the «Regina Caeli» at midday today.

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Dearest Brothers and Sisters!

1. Today, together with you, I wish to give thanks to God and to the Blessed Virgin for the pilgrimage in St. Paul´s footsteps, which I had the joy of undertaking over the past days. Athens, Damascus, Malta: I carry those places imprinted in my soul, which the mission of the Apostle to the Gentiles has linked, indissolubly, to the history of Christianity. Next Wednesday, during the general audience, I will discuss at greater length this unforgettable journey, which was very significant from the ecumenical and interreligious point of view.

Unfortunately, it was saddened by the painful news that continued to arrive from the Holy Land. Indeed, we are faced with an absurd spiral of violence. To sow death every day does no more than exasperate spirits and delay the blessed day when all will be able to look at one another in the face and walk together as brothers! All, and in particular leaders of the international community, have the duty to help the parties in conflict to break this immoral chain of provocations and reprisals. It must be remembered, moreover, as so often repeated, that the language and culture of peace must prevail over incitement to hatred and exclusion.

2. Today, a reason for joy and praise comes to us from the priestly ordinations, which I celebrated this morning in St. Peter´s Basilica. Thirty-four deacons from several Seminaries of the Diocese of Rome, became priests, to serve the Church through preaching of the Gospel, the celebration of the Sacraments, and the pastoral care of the People of God. I embrace each one of them again in peace, assuring them of my prayerful support in their new ministry. I thank all those who are responsible for their formation and affectionately greet relatives and friends.

3. We now invoke, on these new Priests of the Diocese of Rome, the help of Most Holy Mary, on the day in which we remember her apparitions in Fatima. I myself was able to experience her protection on May 13 twenty years ago. We renew our supplication to her for the Holy Land, that the hearts and intentions of all will be purified, so that the massacres will cease and the energies of one and all will be employed for the effective and lasting construction of peace.

[Translation by ZENIT]

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