Pope Sends Papal Envoy to Baghdad

To Seek “Effective International Collaboration”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 9, 2003 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II will send a key Vatican diplomat to Baghdad Feb. 10, to ask Iraq for «effective international collaboration,» a Vatican Press Office statement disclosed today.

In the text, Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls revealed that the papal envoy will be Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

Cardinal Etchegaray has already carried out delicate missions at the Pope’s request in the past. The last was to Jerusalem, in May of 2002, when Bethlehem’s Basilica of the Nativity was occupied and besieged.

«The purpose of the papal mission is to demonstrate to all the Holy Father’s solicitude in favor of peace, and then to help Iraqi authorities to undertake a serious reflection on the duty of effective international cooperation, based on justice and international law, in order to assure those peoples of the supreme good of peace,» the Vatican note explained.

Cardinal Etchegaray will be accompanied by Msgr. Franco Coppola, who works in the Vatican State Secretariat.

On Feb. 14, John Paul II will receive Iraqi Vice-Prime Minister Tarek Aziz, a Catholic of the Chaldean rite. Italian press sources expect the Pope will also receive U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan on Feb. 18.

Before praying the Angelus at midday, John Paul II appealed for prayers to implore for the great gift of peace. Again, during a meeting with members of the community of St. Egidio, the Holy Father said that we must «multiply efforts. We must not be resigned, as though war were inevitable.»

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry


Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation