John Paul II Highlights Conditions for a Peaceful Future

Including Human Rights, Disarmament and Respect for the Environment

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 30, 2003 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II repeated the cry "War never again!" and called for disarmament, the promotion of human rights, development and respect for the environment.



The Pope made his plea today when he received the credentials of Gunkatsu Kano, the new Japanese ambassador to the Vatican. Kano, 61, a career diplomat, had been ambassador in Colombia.

"Through the painful vision of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, your country continues to be a living witness of the tragedies of the 20th century," the Pope said. He invited his audience to hear once again Pope Paul VI's famous expression at the United Nations on Oct. 4, 1965: "War never again!"

"The latter puts in danger the very future of humanity," John Paul II said. He urged the continuation of "the progressive, balanced and controlled elimination of weapons of mass destruction, as well as of nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament."

The Holy Father also mentioned the need "to prevent potential aggressions, but without these measures being detrimental to the fundamental needs of the civilian populations affected, which at times are condemned to poverty and despair."

The "culture of peace" the Pope said, must be founded "on respect of human life and the primacy of the right in its dimension of justice and equity, oriented toward the patient construction of peaceful coexistence among nations and the promotion of the common good."

Because of this, "the question of peace cannot be separated from the question of human dignity and human rights," he said.

This calls for economic cooperation with "poor countries so that they will become agents of their own development," he added.

Lastly, this objective calls for due importance to be given to the problems of the environment and man's role in creation, the Pope said.

"To care for creation is a moral duty for all men, as the will of the Creator is that man be worthy of his vocation, governing nature as a responsible administrator and not as a merciless exploiter," he said. "It also means to leave a habitable earth to future generations."