CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, JULY 25, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address John Paul II gave today before praying the Angelus with pilgrims gathered at the papal summer residence.
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Dear Brothers and Sisters!
1. During these days of relaxation and rest, I often think of the tragic conditions being endured in diverse parts of the world. Today, in particular, I would like to draw your attention to the tragic events that characterize, for a long time now, some countries of the beloved African continent.
2. For over 18 years, the North of Uganda has been scourged by an inhuman conflict, which affects million of people, especially children. Many of them, gripped by fear and deprived of a future, feel constrained to “become soldiers.” I appeal to the international community and to the national political authorities to put an end to this tragic conflict and to offer a real prospect of peace to the whole Ugandan nation.
Also worrying is the situation in which the beloved peoples of Darfur find themselves, in the western area of Sudan bordering with Chad. The war, which has intensified in recent months, brings with it ever more poverty, despair and death. Two decades of bitter confrontations have resulted in a great number of dead, displaced persons and refugees in Sudan. How can we remain indifferent? I make a heartfelt appeal to political authorities and international organizations, so that they will not forget these brothers of ours who suffer so much.
3. The Christian community is mobilizing to address these emergencies. In Uganda, the bishops, helped by other dioceses of the world and by voluntary organizations, are working with generosity for national reconciliation and to help people in difficulty. In Darfur, I wished to send precisely in these days the president of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum,” Archbishop Paul Josef Cordes, so that he would take to those trouble peoples the spiritual and material solidarity of the Holy See and the universal Church.
I invite all Christians to pray for our brothers and sisters of Africa, a continent on which I invoke the maternal protection of Mary.
[Translation by ZENIT]
[After praying the Angelus, John Paul II greeted pilgrims in several languages. In English, he said:]
To all the English-speaking visitors who have joined in our prayer today, I offer warm greetings. May the Lord always keep you and your families in his loving care.