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Appeal for Mideast Peace by the Pope

30 Jul 2006

"So That They Immediately Put Down Their Weapons"

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, JULY 30, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the prepared text of the address Benedict XVI gave today before reciting the midday Angelus with the people who gathered at the summer papal residence in Castel Gandolfo.

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Dear Brothers and Sisters!

Two days ago, my stay in the Aosta Valley finished, I came directly here to Castel Gandolfo, where I intend to remain until the end of the summer, with a brief interruption in September for the apostolic visit to Bavaria. I wish, first of all, to address my affectionate greetings to the ecclesial and civil community of this beautiful town, where I am always happy to come to.

I cordially thank the bishop of Albano, the parish and the priests, as well as the mayor and municipal administration and the other civil authorities. A special thought goes to the directorate and personnel of the pontifical villa, as well as to the police, whom I thank for their valuable service.

Moreover, I greet the many pilgrims who, with their warm presence, contribute to making evident, also in the homier atmosphere of this summer residence, the universal ecclesial dimension of this, our appointment for the Marian prayer.

In this moment I cannot help think of the situation, ever more grave and more tragic, that the Middle East is going through: hundreds of dead, many wounded, a huge number of the homeless and refugees; houses, towns and infrastructure destroyed; meanwhile, hatred and the desire for revenge grow in the hearts of many.

These facts demonstrate clearly that you cannot re-establish justice, establish a new order and build authentic peace when you resort to instruments of violence.

More than ever we see how prophetic and altogether realistic is the voice of the Church when, in the face of wars and conflicts of every kind, it points out the path of truth, justice, love and liberty (cf. encyclical "Pacem in Terris"). Humanity must also cross this path today to achieve the good desire for true peace.

In the name of God, I appeal to all those responsible for this spiral of violence, so that they immediately put down their weapons on all sides! I ask governing leaders and international organizations not to spare any effort to obtain this necessary halt to hostilities and so to be able to begin to build, through dialogue, a lasting and stable concord for all the people of the Middle East.

I appeal to all people of good to continue and to intensify the shipment of humanitarian help to those populations so tested and needy. But especially [I ask that] every heart continue to raise the hopeful prayer to the good and merciful God, so that he grants his peace to that region and to the whole world.

We entrust this sorrowful petition to the intercession of May, Mother of the Prince of Peace and Queen of Peace, so venerated in Mideast countries, where we hope to see soon reign this reconciliation for which the Lord Jesus has offered his precious Blood.

[Translation of the Italian by ZENIT]

[After the Angelus the Pope spoke in a number of languages. In English he said:]

I am happy to greet all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present for this Sunday Angelus, especially the group of young people of the Regnum Christi Movement.

In today's Gospel we see Jesus feeding the hungry multitudes. With the same generous love he continues to offer us daily the Bread of Life. May the Eucharist sustain us always in our love of God, and open our hearts to our neighbors, especially to those in need! I wish you all a blessed Sunday!

[In Italian he said:]

I greet with affection the Italian-language pilgrims, recalling that in the coming days we will mark the memorials of some great saints: tomorrow, St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits; on Aug. 2, St. Alphonsus Maria Liguori, founder of the Redemptorists; on Aug. 4, St. John Mary Vianney, the curé of Ars, patron of parishes. The example and the intercession of these luminous witnesses help us to progress on the path of sanctity.

[Italian original: © Copyright 2006 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana]

reprinted with permission by ZENIT


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