DAILY CATHOLIC THURSDAY November 19, 1998 vol. 9, no. 227
NEWS & VIEWS
IRAQI PATRIARCH ANNOUNCES POPE TO VISIT IRAQ IN 1999. MEANWHILE POPE TELLS WEEKLY AUDIENCE THAT RESPECT FOR ENVIRONMENT IS SIGN OF HOPE, AS HE ALSO URGES NATO LEADERS TO PRESERVE THE PEACE
VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- Pope John Paul II plans to visit Iraq in November 1999, according to the Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Raphael I Bidawid. The Patriarch made that announcement during an interview with the Vatican news agency Fides.
The Vatican press office has neither confirmed nor denied the report.
Patriarch Raphael told Fides that during his October visit to the Vatican, Pope John Paul had indicated "his desire-- not to say his decision-- to undertake a pilgrimage in the footsteps of Abraham, beginning in Ur of the Chaldeans." The patriarch reported that the Pope saw this pilgrimage as a form of preparation for the Jubilee Year. He added that the Vatican Secretariat of State was now forming plans for such a trip in November 1999, while he would seek a formal invitation from the Iraqi government.
Meanwhile, at his regular weekly audience-- conducted indoors this week, in the Paul VI auditorium-- Pope John Paul II said that the rising concern for preservation of the environment is one of "signs of hope" which the Holy Spirit provides for our times.
In Tertio Millennio Adveniente, the Pope had already called for "a livelier sense of responsibility regarding the environment." Quoting from that apostolic letter today, he went on to observe: "Today, mankind has discovered-- largely in reaction to the indiscriminate exploitation of natural resources which has often accompanied industrial development-- the significance and the value of an environment which remains a hospitable home for man, where mankind is destined to live."
The Holy Father said that environmental dangers forced world leaders in science, industry, and government to find new ways to use the earth's resources responsibly. The key challenge, he said, is "not only to limit the damage which has already been done, and apply remedies, but especially to find approaches to development which are in harmony with respect and protection for the natural environment."
For believers, the Pope continued, preservation of the environment takes on a special importance insofar as the world is seen as the design of the Creator. Mankind, he pointed out, was commissioned by God to act as steward for the earth's resources, and guardian of God's "creative work."
The Pope also recognized the presence of several officials of NATO, and encouraged them to "always see your professional work in terms of preserving and promoting peace."
The Pope said that the work of peacemakers is particularly vital "at a time when tensions and conflicts continue to threaten certain regions of the world." During his catechetical discussion, on the signs of hope around the world, the Holy Father had mentioned "efforts to restore peace and justice especially where they have been violated," and "the will to reconciliation and solidarity among different peoples."
Those signs of hope, he noted, come at the end of a century marked by "the immense tragedy of two world wars." The harsh lessons of the century, the Pope argued, have helped to sensitize the human conscience, which today "sees the persistence of unjust conditions, underdevelopment, and violations of human rights as intolerable crimes."
The solution to those unjust situations, the Pope concluded, should be
found not in warfare but in dialogue, solidarity, mutual respect, and
Articles provided through Catholic World News Service.
NEWS & VIEWS