Go to the Roots of Terrorism, Advises Holy See

Archbishop Lajolo Addresses the General Assembly

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NEW YORK, OCT. 1, 2004 (Zenit.org).- It is not possible to fight against terrorism without identifying and addressing its underlying causes, the Holy See said at the United Nations.



Terrorism, in fact, was one of the main issues addressed at a U.N. session Wednesday by Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, Vatican secretary for relations with states.

Terrorism is "an aberrant phenomenon, utterly unworthy of man, which has already assumed global proportions; today, no state can presume to be safe from it," the archbishop said in his English-language address.

"Hence, without prejudice to the right and duty of each state to implement just measures to protect its citizens and its institutions, it seems obvious that terrorism can only be effectively challenged through a concerted multilateral approach, respecting the 'ius gentium,' and not through the politics of unilateralism," the papal representative said.

Archbishop Lajolo clarified that no one is in any doubt "that the fight against terrorism means, first and foremost, neutralizing its active breeding grounds."

"But the underlying causes are many and complex: political, social, cultural, religious; for this reason, what is still more important is long-term action, directed without foresight and patience, at its roots, designed to stop it spreading further and to extinguish its deadly contagious effects," he added.

"The Holy See and the entire Catholic Church is actively involved in this work. It is involved through its educational and charitable institutions which, wherever they are, are committed to raising the cultural and social level of the population, without any discrimination, especially on religious grounds," the prelate indicated.

The Church is also involved "through interreligious dialogue, which has grown in intensity" ever since the Second Vatican Council, the Holy See official noted. This dialogue "is directed towards objective mutual knowledge, sincere friendship and, whenever possible, free collaboration in the service of humanity."

Archbishop Lajolo added: "The Holy See will always be grateful to the authorities of other religions who demonstrate openness to such dialogue, and also to the civil authorities who encourage it, without any political interference, respecting the distribution between the religious and the civil sphere and the fundamental human right to freedom of religion."