Fraternity Urged in Response to Terrorism and Natural Disasters

Pope Analyzes the Tragedies of 2004

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 10, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The tragedies caused by terrorism and natural disasters call for a response based on fraternity, says John Paul II.

In an address to the ambassadors accredited to the Holy See, the Pope today reviewed some of the tragedies that shook the world in 2004.

The Holy Father mentioned “the enormous catastrophe which on 26 December struck different countries of Southeast Asia and as far as the coasts of East Africa.”

He also recalled other natural calamities of the last 12 months, such as “the devastating cyclones in the Indian Ocean and the Antilles, and the plague of locusts which desolated vast regions of Northwest Africa.”

Another scourge was “the acts of barbarous terrorism which caused bloodshed in Iraq and other countries of the world,” he added.

John Paul II then mentioned “the savage attack in Madrid, the terrorist massacre in Beslan, the inhuman acts of violence inflicted on the people of Darfur” and “the atrocities perpetrated in the Great Lakes region of Africa.”

“These events have caused great anguish and distress,” but “in Jesus Christ, who comes into the world as the brother of every man and woman and takes his place at our side, it is God himself who asks us not to yield to discouragement,” he said.

On the contrary, we must “overcome every difficulty, however great it may be, by strengthening the common bonds of our humanity and by making them prevail over all other considerations,” the Pope insisted.

“Wherever there is any one individual, we sense a bond of brotherhood,” he said.

For this reason, the Pontiff gave the ambassadors who were listening to him, the same message he gave for the recent World Day of Peace: “overcome evil with good.”

“This message also has a specific application to international relations,” he said, “and it can be a guide to all in meeting the great challenges facing humanity today.”

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