VATICAN CITY, JAN. 20, 2004 ( John Paul II emphasized the need to educate people to attain peace without falling prey to fatalism.

The Pope expressed this conviction today when receiving members of the Public Security Inspection, which helps protects the Vatican.

"Your task has become more complex in the last years because episodes of fierce terrorist violence have strongly shaken the security of our cities," the Holy Father said during the annual audience.

Although vigilance has been intensified, "the commitment to teach peace seems more urgent every day," he said. John Paul II addressed this challenge in his Message for the World Day of Peace, observed Jan. 1.

In the face of "not a few tragic situations in our time," there is a risk "of giving in to fatalism as if peace were a goal that is almost impossible to attain," the Pope said. "One must not give in to such a temptation!"

"Education for peace, with all its concrete exigencies, must continue to be the object of the incessant commitment of all," he said.

Finally, the Holy Father expressed his gratitude to the 130 participants in the audience, including directors and personnel in charge of vigilance and protection of the Vatican, for the service they render, "which I have followed with attention for more than 25 years." He promised to support them with his prayer.