Vatican Aims for Reconciliation Among Nations After the War

Cardinal Sodano Stresses Importance of U.N. and Interreligious Dialogue

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ROME, APRIL 14, 2003 ( When the Iraqi war ends, the Holy See plans as a priority to promote reconciliation among nations and interreligious dialogue, the Vatican secretary of state says.

Cardinal Angelo Sodano articulated the Vatican’s objectives in statements to the press, at a ceremony Friday at the Lateran University. The ceremony marked the 40th anniversary of Pope John XXIII’s encyclical «Pacem in Terris.»

In his response to journalists, reported by the Vatican Information Service, the cardinal said that the «Holy See continues on its usual course of the magisterium, on one hand, and the diplomatic path, on the other.»

«Before the war, we tried everything to ensure that it did not break out,» he said. «Once it broke out, we worked for it to end as soon as possible. Now there is the hope that the civilian population will recover quickly, and that interreligious dialogue will not be interrupted.»

Asked if the United Nations still had a role to play, Cardinal Sodano said: «Certainly, the Pope said so. We are a family of nations and we must cooperate; this is the destiny of peoples.»

Asked if this is also true of Iraq, the cardinal replied: «Even in Iraq.»

In regard to the Holy See’s fears for other conflicts in the Middle East, Cardinal Sodano said: «We are not prophets of doom. Certainly we hope that the U.N. will resume its role, as you heard in the talks here during this symposium on the teachings of Pope John XXIII.»

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