Bosnians Want to Overcome the Past, Pope Says

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 25, 2003 ( John Paul II says that during his trip to Bosnia-Herzegovina last Sunday he could see that its people want to overcome the past with forgiveness.

“I sensed in everyone the will to overcome the painful experiences of the past in order to build, in truth and reciprocal pardon, a society worthy of man and acceptable to God,” the Pope told pilgrims at today’s general audience in St. Peter’s Square.

At the end of the audience, the Holy Father recalled his 10-hour visit to Banja Luka in Bosnia, during which he beatified the first lay Croat and Bosnian, Ivan Merz (1896-1928).

Last Sunday’s “was a brief trip, but intense and filled with hope for that country which has been so tried by recent conflicts,” the Pope said.

He appealed to the international community to help the peoples of that land “to be able to resolve the complex issues that are still open and to realize the legitimate aspiration to live in peace and to be part of a united Europe.”

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