DAILY CATHOLIC    WEDNESDAY     September 15, 1999     vol. 10, no. 175

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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"La Repubblica" Highlights John Paul II's International Leadership

        ROME, SEP 14 (ZENIT).- "What would the world scene be like without the elderly Pope's voice calling for justice and humanity? What would the drama in Timor be without the Catholic Church and its international organization and Roman centralism led by John Paul II, who assumes the role of spokesman of fundamental rights?" These were the questions raised by the center-left Italian newspaper, "La Repubblica," in an editorial signed by Vatican correspondent Marco Politi, which highlights the Pope's leadership in defense of human rights, made explicit in the case of a small country like East Timor, in itself of little world interest, which suffered a genocide met by silence on the part of many countries unwilling to confront the giant Indonesian oppressor.

        In the article, entitled "Wojtyla's Doctrine," Politi points out that "for days and days the Pope was the only one among world leaders who denounced the unbearable massacres and intolerable international silence."

        "A voice crying in the desert. The only voice that tenaciously called for urgent international intervention in defense of the rights of peoples and individuals," Politi remarks. "Finally, the United Nations began to respond, as did many powers, among them the United States, which realized that verbal condemnations are not enough when whole communities are being deported, churches demolished and heads barbarously displayed on wooden stakes. If Jakarta has at last said yes to the (U.N.) blue helmets, it is also thanks to this persistent voice."

        At the end of the 20th century, faced with an international order that is unable to stop such conflicts, Politi highlights the "Wojtyla Doctrine's" contribution to humanitarian intervention.

        "There are those who ask if the Vatican has not left pacifism behind and opted for interventionism. But whoever speaks this way does not know Wojtyla. Ever since the days of the war in Bosnia, John Paul II has preached the duty of humanitarian intervention. Arms must be silenced whenever possible, and all peaceful avenues explored -- this is his thought. But when the wayfarer is attacked by the evildoer, then the good Samaritans must intervene, including with force," Politi continued.

        "The 'Wojtyla Doctrine' is not simplistic. It is sophisticated. It states that peoples have the right to individuality, but not necessarily to a state for every ethnic group. It emphasizes that the large states must not dominate the small; the sovereignty of all must be respected. Each state has the duty to guarantee the fundamental rights of its own citizens; if it breaks this pact and persecutes them, shedding their blood, then the international community must intervene to preserve everyone's most cherished good: life," Politi writes. The author points out that this is the line of Vatican diplomacy.

        "John Paul II has not set aside his dream of global coexistence, where ethics and law are in harmony. In fact, he does not consider this a dream but a necessary condition so that the world of the third millennium will not fall prey to the endemic spiral of economic, military, ethnic and religious conflicts. Will the 21st century by the scene of 'clashes of civilization,' as prophesied by North American political scientist Samuel Huntington? Pope Wojtyla counterbalances the prophecy with the civilization of law and coexistence," the editorial states.

        Because of this, although it is fashionable to criticize the United Nations' inefficiency, the Pontiff emphasizes its role as international arbiter and the need to give it the necessary means to carry out its mission. ZE99091403

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.

September 15, 1999       volume 10, no. 175


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