VATICAN CITY, JAN. 1, 2005 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II made a New Year’s plea to believers of all faiths and to those who accept the “universal moral law” to promote peace through dialogue, justice and forgiveness.
The Pope made the plea in St. Peter’s Basilica today during the Mass he presided over on the 38th World Day of Peace, whose theme was “Do Not Be Overcome by Evil, but Overcome Evil With Good.”
“In the face of the many manifestations of evil, which unfortunately afflict the human family, the high-priority demand is to promote peace, using consistent means, giving importance to dialogue, to works of justice, and educating in forgiveness,” the Holy Father said in his first public address of 2005.
“Conquering evil with the weapons of love transforms the way in which each one can contribute to the peace of all,” he said.
“Christians and believers of diverse religions are called to walk by this path, together with those who accept the universal moral law,” the Pope told a packed basilica. Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican secretary of state, celebrated the Mass.
On hand at the Mass were ambassadors from the 174 countries that maintain diplomatic ties with the Holy See.
John Paul II directed greetings to the diplomatic representatives of the countries “particularly hard hit in these days by the enormous cataclysm that befell them.”
The United Nations said the estimated death toll from the tsumani disaster in southern Asia was nearing 150,000.
Following the Mass, the Holy Father prayed the midday Angelus with about 40,000 people in St. Peter’s Square. He referred again to the disaster in Asia.
“In assuring my prayer for the victims of the catastrophe and for their families,” the Pope said, “I note favorably the solidarity efforts which are developing in every part of the world.
“This sense of humane solidarity, in addition to being the help of God, raises the hope for better days during the year that begins today.”
At the Mass, the general intercessions included a petition that terrorists understand that “violence will never resolve the problems of dignity, life and liberty of human beings.”