Cardinal George: Pope's Peace Message Is "Urgent"

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WASHINGTON, D.C., DEC. 12, 2007 (Zenit.org).- The newly elected president of the U.S. bishops' conference says Benedict XVI's statement for the Jan. 1 World Day of Peace has an urgent message for the world.

Cardinal Francis George called particular attention to two of the Pope's points in the Dec. 8 message, released Tuesday: nuclear disarmament and protection of the environment.

"Pope Benedict XVI's call for nations to show 'greater determination' for 'a progressive and mutually agreed dismantling of existing nuclear weapons' is urgent and should be of the highest priority for citizens of the world," said Cardinal George, archbishop of Chicago. "The Pope's concern for the environment is also paramount."

The 70-year-old prelate, who was elected president of the episcopal conference in November, said the bishops are urging all U.S. citizens to "read carefully the Pope's message."

"It points out," Cardinal George said, "that every one of us, individually and as a nation, bears responsibility for peacemaking, which begins at home both in how we treat one another and how we use all the earth's resources."