Peace Hinges on Dialogue, Pope Tells Young People

Warns of Spread of Violence and Consumerist Mentality

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VATICAN CITY, FEB. 1, 2004 ( John Paul II is certain that «peace will conquer if we dialogue,» and he shared that conviction with some 10,000 members of the Turin-based Youth Missionary Service.

The youths, whose group is known by Italian acronym SERMIG, came to the Vatican as part of their organization’s 40th anniversary celebration. SERMIG arose at the initiative of layman Ernesto Olivero, whom Mother Teresa once said should be a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize.

«Peace will conquer if we dialogue,» the Pope said in his address Saturday to the young people gathered in Paul VI Hall. This phrase, he added, emphasizes the close relation there is between «respect for others, dialogue and peace.»

«In our time, characterized by an intense network of exchanges between different cultures and religions, it is necessary to promote and make easier the acceptance of and reciprocal understanding between individuals and nations,» the Holy Father said.

«To teach peace is an ever timely commitment, an imperative of our time,» he said. «Given the spread of violence, and of a hedonistic and consumerist mentality, and the worsening of mistrust and fear, we must reaffirm with vigor that peace is possible and, therefore, if it is possible it is also a duty.»

At one point John Paul II told his audience: «Thank you for the hope you represent for the Church and the world!»

SERMIG tries to proclaim the Gospel through conciliation efforts around the world.

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