Hailed, Cardinal Sodano Shifts Spotlight to Pope's Efforts

Secretary of State Receives a Peace Award

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NEW YORK, SEPT. 22, 2004 (Zenit.org).- When receiving the Path to Peace Award, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano paid tribute to John Paul II for his «tireless testimony as a prophet of peace.»

The award, conferred annually, honors individuals who work for peace in the international realm. The award is conferred by the foundation of the same name, created by the Holy See’s mission to the United Nations.

The honor given to Cardinal Sodano highlights the Holy See’s constant commitment to peace and to dialogue among peoples.

Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Holy See’s permanent observer to the United Nations and president of the foundation, conferred the award Monday.

He recalled Cardinal Sodano’s work in critical moments, such as the fall of the Berlin Wall, the key U.N. conferences of the 1990s — when he defended the centrality of human dignity — and the current conflicts lacerating the world.

«It is well known,» the cardinal said, «how much John Paul II has done to guide our steps and those of all people of good will toward peace. Therefore, the award should be regarded as a personal recognition to the Holy Father, whose teachings have been the ultimate source of inspiration for all that has been achieved.»

During the ceremony, the Servitor Pacis Award was also conferred to the memory of Archbishop Michael Courtney, apostolic nuncio in Burundi. The award honors those who have died in the most remote areas for peace.

The Irish-born archbishop died in an ambush near the capital, Bujumbura, on Dec. 29. This was the first time a papal representative had been killed. The crime hasn’t been solved.

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