Cardinal Highlights Papal Analysis of Terrorism

When Presenting Message for World Day of Peace

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 17, 2003 ( A novelty of John Paul II’s message for World Day of Peace 2004 is its analysis of terrorism, says a Vatican official.

“In the fight against terrorism the Holy Father gives two important indications, one of a political and educational nature and the other related to international law,” Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, said at a press conference Tuesday.

The cardinal explained that the Pope emphasizes that “the causes must be eliminated that are at the origin of unjust situations, from which at times the bloodiest and most desperate acts arise.”

The Italian cardinal added that John Paul II insists on the need for “education inspired by respect for human life in all circumstances.”

Cardinal Martino made his statements in the Vatican press office when presenting the papal message for the World Day to be observed Jan. 1.

He voiced a hope saying, “Love must also extend to international law.”

“International law must never be detached from ethical and moral assumptions,” the cardinal stressed, echoing words in the papal message, which includes a call to the evangelical command of love and forgiveness.

Echoing another theme in the message, Cardinal Martino said: “International law should avoid the law of the strongest prevailing.”

Several times during the press conference, the cardinal stressed “the validity of the United Nations” and remarked that recent popes have all desired “a reform of the U.N.” The cardinal himself was a longtime Holy See observer to the United Nations.

“The Pope believes that the end never justifies the means,” he added. “Democratic governments know well that the use of force against terrorists cannot justify the denial of the principles of a state of law.

“The Pope reminds the forgetful that there are only two exceptions that allow recourse to force: the natural right to legitimate defense, exercised with the criteria of need and proportionality, in the ambit of the United Nations, and the system of collective security, which assigns to the Security Council competence and responsibility in the matter of maintaining the peace.”

Responding to a journalist’s question, Vatican spokesman Joaquín Navarro-Valls explained that “increasingly, the Pope dictates more and writes less,” adding that John Paul II “continues to correct personally the drafts of texts, which are always in Polish.”

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