Violence Against G-8 Doesn’t Help, Pope Says

Appeals to Summit Participants for Commitment to Solidarity

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, JULY 22, 2001 ( Following two days of violence at the G-8 summit in Genoa, John Paul II spoke out, making it clear that «violence is not the way to attain an equitable solution to existing problems.»

«I again encourage all those who really have the rights of man at heart, to persevere in efforts for a world of greater justice and solidarity,» the Pontiff said today before praying the midday Angelus.

John Paul II was speaking from the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, located some 30 kilometers (18 miles) from Rome, where he will continue to work, as he does every year, until the end of September.

The courtyard of the papal residence was crowded with pilgrims today, especially with young people, most of whom came from Poland and Malta. Their cries were so loud that at times the Pope´s voice was inaudible.

The Holy Father expressed his «sorrow and regret over the outbreak of hostilities,» among groups of protesters against the G-8 summit. According to RAI, the Italian public television network, the confrontations on Friday and Saturday have resulted in one death, 500 wounded and 126 arrested.

Earlier, the Pope had sent a message to the heads of state attending the meeting — from the United States, Germany, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and Russia — in which he expressed his «personal and spiritual closeness» to the leaders and requested that «no person and no nation … be excluded from your concerns.»

«Without allowing yourselves to be overwhelmed by the weight of the various issues involved, I am confident that you will do all you can to promote a culture of solidarity, which will make possible concrete solutions to the problems that weigh most heavily in the lives of our brothers and sisters and in their relations with others — peace, poverty, health and the environment,» the Holy Father said in his message.

On Monday, John Paul II will receive U.S. President George W. Bush for the first time, in Castel Gandolfo.

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