Peace Linked to Overcoming Poverty and Lack of Education

Pope Appeals to Political Leaders to Address Violence at Its Roots

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 6, 2001 ( Acknowledging that injustice is no excuse for violence or terrorism, John Paul II said that peace calls for overcoming the poverty and lack of education that underlie current conflicts.

Consequently, the Pope appealed to political leaders and diplomats to be committed to the struggle “against poverty and the lack of spiritual, moral and intellectual formation of youth.”

The Pope expressed these convictions today when he received the letters of credence of 10 new ambassadors to the Vatican.

The diplomats were from Bangladesh, Djibouti, Finland, Eritrea, Georgia, Lesotho, Rwanda, the island of Mauritius, Mali and Switzerland.

“More than ever, our contemporaries are marked by fear, caused at once by the unstable situation in the world and the uncertainty of the morrow,” the Holy Father said.

“It seems that many cannot look serenely to the future, especially youths, as they are perturbed by the dramatic events offered to them by the adult world,” the Pope added.

In face of this situation, the Bishop of Rome said that it is the duty, especially of those who are “responsible for nations and their representatives in the diplomatic service, to commit themselves, more than ever and in an increasingly intense way, to dialogue and international cooperation.”

The object of this commitment should be “to eradicate everything that is a source of conflict and tension between human groups and nations,” John Paul II explained.

“No particular issue, which should always be able to find negotiated solutions, must prevail over respect for persons and peoples,” the Pope stressed.

According to the Holy Father, the mission of political leaders and diplomats must be translated in practice into “eminent acts of love of neighbor, carried out with the desire to contribute to the common good and better understanding between persons and peoples.”

“Then we will be able to offer future generations a land where one can live well,” the Pope continued.

“We must always remember that all the injustices that our contemporaries might experience — the situations of poverty, lack of education of youth — are at the origin of points of violence in the world,” John Paul II concluded.

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