U.N. Envoy Praised at Mass for Baghdad Victims

ROME, SEPT. 19, 2003 (Zenit.org).- At a Mass for the 22 killed in the attack on U.N. offices in Baghdad, a Vatican official highlighted the indispensable role of the international community in promoting peace.

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Archbishop Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, celebrated the Mass in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere. He prayed in particular for Sergio Vieira de Mello, the top U.N. envoy to Iraq, who died in the Aug. 19 tragedy.

The archbishop described Vieira as «an admirable example of vibrant social and political charity.»

Archbishop Martino later told ZENIT that «Vieira has left an example and hope that others will arise who are like him. … We Christians already know what the Gospel tells us, that unless the seed dies it does not bear fruit.»

«Despite the innumerable limitations, congenital frailties, and imperative need for renewal, the international community continues to be a focal point which cannot be dispensed with in the difficult path that leads to peace,» he added.

Personnel of the U.N. Office in Rome attended the Mass, as well as ambassadors to the Vatican.

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