DAILY CATHOLIC     WEDNESDAY     April 14, 1999     vol. 10, no. 73

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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          VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- In a short, unequivocal public statement, the Vatican has distanced itself from the efforts by the St. Egidio community to mediate the Kosovo crisis.

          The official statement, issued by the Vatican press office on April 13, indicates that the St. Egidio community "has not received any mandate from the Secretariat of State" for its diplomatic efforts. While acknowledging that the Holy See has been kept informed about the community's efforts, the statement underlined the independence of the St. Egidio delegation.

          Recent stories in Italian newspapers have suggested that Msgr. Vincenzo Paglia, who led the St. Egidio team to Belgrade to meet with Serbian government leaders, is unofficially acting as "the voice of the Vatican." The statement issued by the press office sharply contradicted that notion.

          The Italian newspaper La Stampa has reported that Msgr. Paglia has been in contact with Ibrahim Rugova, a Kosovar leader who is now living under house arrest in Pristina. Some Italian reporters have speculated that the Vatican hopes to arrange a meeting between Rugova and Pope John Paul II. But the Vatican statement indicated that such speculation "does not correspond with reality."

          The Vatican statement concluded by saying that the Secretariat of State, under the leadership of Cardinal Angelo Sodano, is continuing its own diplomatic initiatives to stop the fighting in Kosovo. Only these efforts, the statement cautioned, reflect the official policies of the Holy See.

          The official Vatican newspaper has called upon the faithful to remember the power of prayer in their responses to the Kosovo conflict, and to avoid temptations to "avenge the victims" and to "visceral violence."

          The April 13 issue of L'Osservatore Romano recognized that many people, seeing how the latest conflict in the Balkans "resumes the horrors of a decade," might become obsessed with the desire to punish those who are responsible for so much suffering. The temptation, the paper said, may be to "exalt the war, which remains a fault and a defeat."

          The use of violent force is not justified simply by the fact that others have been guilty of crimes and misdeeds, the article argued. The search for real justice is better served by intense prayer, L'Osservatore said, and true justice must be founded on "the rights of man, before the rights of the state-- or, worse, the resort to use of force."

Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales. Both CWN and NE are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provides this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

April 14, 1999       volume 10, no. 73


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