Lament Over Terrorism in Iraq and Turkey

Pope Also Cites Need for Peace in the Holy Land

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 16, 2003 ( Here is a translation of the address John Paul II gave today before praying the midday Angelus with pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

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Dear Brothers and Sisters!

1. Once again, in recent days, terrorism has carried out its dreadful work, particularly devastating in Iraq and Turkey. While I continue to pray for the victims, I renew the expression of my spiritual closeness to the many families who mourn their dead. I express at the same time my heartfelt solidarity with all those involved in caring for the wounded and remedying the damages caused. No one can give in to the temptation of discouragement and retaliation: respect for life, international solidarity, observance of the law must prevail over hatred and violence.

2. In this context, I renew my firm condemnation also for any terrorist action carried out, in recent times, in the Holy Land. At the same time I must point out that, unfortunately, in those places the dynamism of peace seems to have stopped. The construction of a wall between the Israeli and Palestinian people is seen by many as a new obstacle on the road toward peaceful coexistence. In fact, the Holy Land does not need walls but bridges! Without the reconciliation of spirits, there can be no peace.

3. Let us commend to the God of mercy and peace, through the intercession of Mary, the people of that area of the world. May the leaders have the courage to return to dialogue and negotiation, thus opening the way toward a Middle East that is reconciled in justice and peace.

[After praying the Angelus, the Holy Father greeted pilgrims in French and Italian]

[He said in French:]

Today is the World Day of Highway Victims. In placing them in the Lord’s hands, I renew the urgent appeal for conduct that is respectful of human life and of the norms of security.

[In Italian:]

Today Italy celebrates the Day of Migrations. I associate myself to the message of the episcopal conference, which proposes solidarity in legality. To all those who spread the Gospel among migrants, I renew my cordial encouragement.

In the coming days a World Congress on Pastoral Care for Migrants and Refugees will take place in Rome. As of now, I welcome the participants and wish them the best for this important initiative.

Finally, on the occasion of the National Day for Cancer Research, I express my closeness to the sick and all those who care for them and wish the best progress in the field of research.

I greet the faithful of the Armenian Catholic parish of St. Teresa of Heliopolis of Cairo, Egypt, led by Patriarch Nerses Bedros XIX of Silesia of the Armenians.

I greet all the pilgrims present and wish them a happy Sunday.

[Translation of the French and Italian originals by ZENIT]

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