DAILY CATHOLIC    MONDAY     August 23, 1999     vol. 10, no. 158

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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Pope, as "Servant of the Servants of God," Refers to War in Angola as "Disregard of Human Dignity"

          CASTELGANDOLFO, AUG 22 (ZENIT).- "The Pope's role is to serve the Church and humanity," John Paul II said to the pilgrims who congregated at noon today in the courtyard of Castelgandolfo, the papal summer residence. His words echoed those of Christ's in today's liturgy: "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I shall build My Church."

        After reminding the faithful that Jesus spoke these words at Peter's confession: "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God," which are "the heart of Christianity itself," the Holy Father said that the role of service explains the definition that from earliest times has described the Bishop of Rome: "Servant of the servants of God."

        In light of this idea of the Church's "power," the Holy Father spoke about today's feast -- the Queenship of Mary. "We must not forget that it is the Christian meaning of royalty, which is profoundly different from earthly ideas of power. It is a royalty of service and love, which passes through the cross, before shining in the Resurrection," the Pontiff concluded.

        John Paul II also took advantage of his meeting at noon today with thousands of faithful in the courtyard of Castelgandolfo, the papal summer residence, to appeal for help in support of Turkey, devastated by one of the cruelest earthquakes this century.

        "I cannot but think of the dear people of Turkey, who were recently affected by a violent earthquake. The news arriving describes a situation that has reached catastrophic proportions. Official sources speak of thousands of deaths, which sadly increase, according to persons involved in the rescue. The wounded and homeless are innumerable, as are the destroyed buildings; many inhabited places have been leveled," the Pope said, before praying the "Angelus."

        The Pontiff expressed "his constant concern and profound affection for these brothers and sisters suffering such a hard test. I express my deepest sympathy for the deceased and pray that the merciful God will welcome them in his eternal dwelling. I also pray that the Lord will alleviate the suffering of those who have experienced great losses, and are homeless. May the work of assistance, undertaken and coordinated by the authorities, the practical solidarity of the volunteers, who have arrived in Turkey from many other countries, be of consolation and help to the many people who are living an hour of great suffering in this beloved nation."

    Angola's Cry

        At the end of his encounter with the pilgrims, the Pope also expressed his concern over the current situation in Angola, "where, because of a fratricidal conflict, which is carried out in silence and disregard for human dignity, one of the gravest humanitarian crises of the African continent," is taking place.

        Referring to the confrontations between the Angolan government and the Unita rebels (National Union for Angola's Total Independence), John Paul II denounced "the egotism of some, allied with the interests of others" that "is carrying this nation to a slow and inexorable agony, threatening the future of the entire region."

        The Pope recalled the words of the Congolese Bishops over the last few weeks, when voicing the suffering of their people. They requested that people "not remain indifferent in face of the country's destruction and the holocaust of their brothers" and appealed to the international community to stop sending arms and send food in exchange for diamonds and oil." (Cf. ZE99081001).

        The Pope prayed that "the courage for peace would be manifest in each person of good will, and ... solidarity in the international community, that will favor the rebirth of hope and insure the peace and justice the people have long desired." ZE99082204 and ZE99082203

Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and International Dossiers, Daily Dispatches and Features at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

August 23, 1999       volume 10, no. 158


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