DAILY CATHOLIC     TUESDAY     April 6, 1999     vol. 10, no. 67

NEWS & VIEWS
from a CATHOLIC perspective

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POPE PLEADS FOR HUMANITARIAN AID TO KOSOVO AS VATICAN PAPER PRODS EUROPE TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY

          VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- In his Easter message, broadcast across the world in conjunction with the celebration of Easter Mass at St. Peter's Basilica, Pope John Paul II called for international solidarity in support of the victims of the warfare in the Balkans.

          The Holy Father, in his traditional Urbi et Orbi message, said that every Christian is obligated to "proclaim the amazing newness of the Gospel." Then, referring to the violence that afflicts many parts of the world, he continued: "But how can this message of joy and hope be made to resound when many parts of the world are submerged in sorrow and tears? How can we speak of peace, when people are forced to flee, when they are hunted down and their homes are burnt to the ground? When the heavens are rent by the din of war, when the whistle of shells is heard around people's homes and the ravaging fire of bombs consumes towns and villages? Enough of this cruel shedding of human blood!"

          Speaking directly to the fighting in Kosovo, the Pontiff called upon Serbian leaders to open a "humanitarian corridor," allowing the delivery of aid supplies. "There can be no frontiers to impede the work of solidarity," he said; "corridors of hope are always a necessity."

          During the Easter Mass, attended by an estimated 50,000 people, the Pope said in his homily: "Who could unite earth to heaven once more, and man to his Creator? The answer to the unsettling question comes to us from Christ, who, breaking the chains of death, made his heavenly light shine upon men."

          In a related story, Archbishop Paul Josef Cordes, who visited Albania during Holy Week as the Pope's personal envoy, told the Italian newspaper Avvenire, that the Holy Father was working on two fronts to ease the suffering in Kosovo. While sending humanitarian aid to the civilians, the archbishop noted, at the same time the Pope was begging political leaders to end the violence.

          Archbishop Cordes, who delivered a $50,000 contribution from the Pope's charities, also visited refugee camps before he celebrated Mass on Holy Thursday at the cathedral in Tirana, Albania. He said he was struck by the sheer number of refugees, and by the depression that was evident in their faces.

          Meanwhile, the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano has called for a "burst of responsibility" in Europe, in response to "the double war that bloodies Yugoslavia."

          In a front-page story published April 4, L'Osservatore Romano use the term "double war" to refer to "the one begun last week by NATO, and the civil war which had already afflicted the poor peoples of Kosovo for more than a year." These conflicts must be stopped, the newspaper said, by renewed negotiations.

          "The search for alternatives to force does not entail absolving those who are responsible for so much suffering," the Vatican newspaper added. The article repeated the Vatican insistence that the solution to the conflict must be supervised by the United Nations and the European community, adding that international leaders must "spare no effort" in the cause of peace.

          Noting that European leaders had spurned a papal plea for an "Easter truce," L'Osservatore continued, "Europe cannot limit its response to saying No." The article challenged leaders to provide realistic alternatives to the current warfare. Denouncing the "negligence" that has been evident in Europe's response to the crises that have rocked the Balkans for several years, L'Osservatore concluded: "The European Union can and must recognize its past errors in order to avoid a similar future."


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 6, 1999       volume 10, no. 67
NEWS & VIEWS

DAILY CATHOLIC

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