John Paul II's Principal Message to Bosnia Is Reconciliation

Asks Forgiveness for Faults of the «Children of the Catholic Church»

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BANJA LUKA, Bosnia, JUNE 22, 2003 ( Convinced that only reconciliation can guarantee a future for Bosnia-Herzegovina, John Paul II asked for forgiveness for the offenses committed by Catholics in the country.

The Pope’s statement, which had enormous repercussions in a country drained by the 1992-95 war, resounded at the key moment of his 10-hour apostolic visit: the Mass in which he beatified Ivan Merz (1896-1928).

«From this city, marked in the course of history by so much suffering and bloodshed, I ask Almighty God to have mercy on the sins committed against humanity, human dignity, and freedom also by children of the Catholic Church, and to foster in all the desire for mutual forgiveness,» the Holy Father implored.

«Only in a climate of true reconciliation will the memory of so many innocent victims and their sacrifice not be in vain, but encourage everyone to build new relationships of fraternity and understanding,» he added.

The eucharistic celebration, which more than 50,000 people, was celebrated next to the monastery of the Most Holy Trinity in Banja Luka.

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