VATICAN CITY, OCT. 10, 2001 (Zenit.org).- Greeting the pilgrims gathered for today´s general audience, John Paul II again called for prayers for world peace.
“I invite you all to pray for peace and to be committed to building a world without violence, founded on respect for the dignity of every human being,” the Holy Father said when directly addressing English-speaking pilgrims in St. Peter´s Square.
Several hundred U.S. pilgrims attended the general audience, the majority from New York, Boston and California. The Pope made no direct reference to the American military assault on Afghanistan, in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States.
Just a few hours after the first bombing of Afghanistan, John Paul II expressed his “anguish” and “concern” in this “delicate moment of international life.”
On Sept. 19, the Holy Father referred to the attack against the United States as “a dark day for humanity.” At all times the Pope has expressed his closeness to the victims and their families, and to the sorrow of the American people.
Speaking in Italian, the Holy Father prayed for peace in the Holy Land as he blessed an artistic bronze gate, a gift of the Diocese of Verona, which will be placed in St. Catherine´s Church in Bethlehem.