Monday, October 23, 2006

Pope Benedict XVI once more appeals for peace in Iraq.


VATICAN CITY, OCT 22, 2006 (VIS) - After praying the Angelus with thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square, the Pope sent "a cordial greeting to Muslims all over the world who, during these days, are celebrating the end of the month of fasting of Ramadan. To all of them, my best wishes for serenity and peace.

"In dramatic contrast to this climate of joy," he added, "is the news coming from Iraq of the grave situation of insecurity and of the pitiless violence to which so many innocents are exposed, simply for being Shias, Sunnis or Christians.

"I am aware of the great concern being felt by the Christian community, and wish to give assurances of my closeness to them, as to all the victims, asking that strength and consolation be granted to everyone.

"I invite you," he concluded, "to join me in my plea to the Almighty that He may give the necessary faith and courage to religious and political leaders, both locally and all over the world, to support [the Iraqi] people on the road of rebuilding their homeland, in their search for a shared equilibrium, with mutual respect, and an awareness that the multiplicity of [the country's] components is an integral part of its wealth."

As Catholics, we are called to pray and work for peace. We are being called by our Holy Father to pray for such a peace and to support the Iraqi people on their long and arduous journey of rebuilding their homeland and their quest for mutual respect. Violence is not the answer. Violence begets violence. Standing with Pope John Paul II, we must cry out "no more war!"

The alternative is destruction, chaos and untold suffering. Which is precisely what we have been witnessing in Iraq. Our true weapon must be the Holy Rosary and not machine guns, tanks, fighter-planes and nuclear weapons. The Holy Rosary is far more powerful. It is a weapon for building up a civilization of love. It is easy to resort to violence. It is far more difficult to love one's enemies and to pray for them. But then, no one ever said that being a Christian was easy. It's difficult. It can be painful. Love can bring pain. But in the end, it is love which conquers hatred, hostility and death. Amor vincit omnia - love conquers all!

Love conquers all.


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