DAILY CATHOLIC     MONDAY     March 29, 1999     vol. 10, no. 61

NEWS & VIEWS
from a CATHOLIC perspective

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NUNCIO KEEPS DIPLOMATIC LINES OPEN IN BELGRADE AND POPE CALLS ON YOUTH TO PRAY FOR PEACE WHILE MOSCOW PATRIARCH DECRIES "UNJUST" AIR STRIKES

          VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- While most international diplomats have evacuated Belgrade because of NATO air strikes, the papal nuncio remains in the Yugoslavian capital city.

          Joaquin Navarro-Valls, the head of the Vatican press office, said that Archbishop Abril y Castello Santos, the Pope's representative in Belgrade, remains there as "an open channel with the authorities" in the Serbian government. He added that the Vatican is actively pursuing diplomatic contacts with ambassadors accredited to the Holy See, including the envoys from the Yugoslavian republic and from Russia.

          Meanwhile, In a March 25 meeting with young people from Rome, Pope John Paul II called for prayers for peace in Kosovo.

          Speaking at a meeting held in preparation for the observance of World Youth Day on Palm Sunday, the Holy Father responded to participants' questions about the warfare in Kosovo, and how it should be seen in light of God's love for mankind. "Why ask where we can find the love of God," the Pontiff replied; "rather than recognize the responsibilities that derive from man's sins?" He continued: "How can we hold God responsible, when it is the decisions of free human beings that are the cause?" Sin is not merely an abstract concept, the Pope explained; it results in real human suffering. In fact, he added, the world's suffering and evil are caused by "sin and the refusal to live according to God's teachings."

          Nearly 20,000 young people had gathered at the Vatican for the meeting, the 8th such annual event. While the Pope spoke in the Paul VI meeting hall, thousands of youngsters who could not gain entry to that hall watched the Pope on a video screen in St. Peter's Square.

          Meanwhile in Moscow, through a personal message conveyed to both UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and US President Bill Clinton, Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexei II has described the NATO air strikes on Kosovo as "unlawful and unjust."

          Patriarch Alexei appealed to the world leaders to stop the attacks, saying that "the future of Europe and all humanity largely depend on the outcome of these dramatic days." His March 26 statement added: "The suppression of the will of a whole nation will never bring a lasting peace, but, on the contrary, will create the danger of multiple escalation and continuation of the conflict.

          Earlier this week, a delegation from the Russian Orthodox Church had postponed plans for a visit to the Vatican, citing the bombing of Serbian forces by planes based in Italy. While pointing out that the Vatican is not responsible for Italian foreign policy, the Holy See agreed to postpone the meeting.


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.

March 29, 1999       volume 10, no. 61
NEWS & VIEWS

DAILY CATHOLIC

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