Pope Stresses Dialogue, Not Terrorism, to Solve Problems

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 21, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Following the terrorist attacks in Istanbul, John Paul II stressed that "dialogue is the only worthy path of man in the tensions that oppose persons or human groups."



"Homicidal violence constitutes contempt of persons and of humanity," the Pope said in a telegram of sympathy to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan upon hearing the news of bombings.

Twenty-nine people died and some 450 were wounded in the attacks Thursday on the British consulate and the London-based HSBC Bank in the center of the Turkish capital.

British Consul General Roger Short was one of those killed in the attack, for which al-Qaida has claimed responsibility.

Assuring the Turkish people of his spiritual closeness, the Pope prayed to the "Almighty that he receive the deceased in his Kingdom of light and give strength and courage to those affected, their families, and those involved in rescue work, in the trials they are going though."

The telegram, signed by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano, stressed that "the Holy Father desires to make a new appeal, firmly condemning terrorist acts that blindly strike innocent populations."

Lastly, the Pontiff "prays to the Almighty to enlighten the consciences of all those involved in the path of terrorism, so that they will courageously undertake the way of peace."