John Paul II Renews Peace Appeal to Leaders of Nations

Recalls Paul VI’s 1964 Visit to the Holy Land

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 6, 2004 ( John Paul II reiterated a 1964 appeal by his predecessor Pope Paul VI and called on world leaders to collaborate for the sake of peace and justice.

The Holy Father recalled the day of Epiphany that Paul VI spent in the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem exactly 40 years ago, during the latter’s historic visit to the Holy Land.

«From the place that saw the Prince of Peace being born, he exhorted leaders of nations to greater collaboration to establish peace in truth, in justice, in freedom, and in fraternal love,» John Paul II said as he addressed 20,000 pilgrims gathered today in St. Peter’s Square for the midday Angelus.

The visit to the cave where tradition says that Christ was born also served Paul VI to relaunch the dialogue between the Church and the world, John Paul II explained in a clear voice.

«If the world feels it is foreign to Christianity, Christianity does not feel foreign to the world,» he said, repeating the words of Paul VI.

Paul VI visited the Holy Land from Jan. 4-6, 1964, when the Second Vatican Council’s working sessions had resumed following the death of John XXIII.

The first return of a Successor of Peter to the Holy Land was planned by the Pope’s personal secretary. The Holy Father wished to retrace the paths on which Jesus walked, as a spiritual return to the origins of Christianity and the Church.

In a manuscript dated Sept. 21, 1963, Paul VI explained the objectives of his first apostolic trip: «It must be a very quick trip, characterized by simplicity, piety, penance and charity.»

A meeting between the Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras of Constantinople, «first among equals» of the Orthodox Churches, took place on Jan. 5, 1964, on the Mount of Olives. The object was to overcome the schism that has existed for almost 1,000 years.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry


Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation