No Nobel, But Pope's Contribution Is Known, Says Official

Cardinal Sodano Calls John Paul II a «Messenger of Peace»

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 10, 2003 ( Although John Paul II did not win the Nobel Peace Prize this year, «all men of good will recognize his contribution,» says the Vatican’s secretary of state.

Earlier today, Norway’s Nobel Committee announced that Iranian human rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi had won its peace prize, confounding some predictions that the ailing, 83-year-old Pope might be chosen, Reuters reported.

«The Pope is a messenger of peace,» Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano said in an interview, according to the news agency. «If an organization wants to recognize it, that’s fine. But the Pope is above these things.»

Meanwhile, a telephone poll conducted by the Instituto Directa revealed that more than three-quarters of Italians surveyed think that the Holy Father should have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

According to the survey, 77.3% said the Pope deserved the award. Their second choice was Ebadi (10.1%). Former Czech Republic President Vaclav Havel had the support of 3.2% of Italians, and U2 singer Bono, 2.4%.

The survey canvassed 1,000 people, shortly after the announcement that the prize for 2003 went to Ebadi.

Cardinal Sodano noted that the Nobel Committee had honored prominent Christians in recent years, Reuters said.

«We have seen with pleasure in the past that they gave the Nobel Prize to Mother Teresa, and Monsignor Carlos Belo of East Timor, Archbishop Tutu of South Africa and other deserving Christians,» he said.

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