The president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications presided over a Mass in English this morning at the Basilica of St. Mary Major and, in his homily, asked for prayers "for a threefold healing: for ourselves, for the Church, and for the world."
"Let us pray for healing in the world, which is on the brink of war," he began. "God spared Nineveh after the inhabitants gave themselves over to 40 days of prayer and fasting; perhaps after our own faithful recitation of the rosary every day for peace and after our own 40 days of Lenten prayer and sacrifice, the world might be spared another war."
"My statement is in no way political," the American prelate went on. "I am certainly not attempting to canonize Saddam Hussein or to point an accusing finger at the leadership of the United States or of Great Britain.
"I am only saying that a just peace, involving also the effective disarmament of Iraq, is badly needed, not only for the poor, the innocent and the defenseless in the Middle East, but for the members of our own armed forces and indeed for our own populations who risk being victimized again by horrible terrorism."
"Second," he continued, "let us pray for healing for the Church, which has suffered so much in recent years, especially in English-speaking countries. I hope we are in no way the evil generation to which Jesus referred, but we have experienced the works of evil and the works of the Evil One in the Church."
"Finally, let us pray for healing in our own lives," the archbishop said. "What are our secret sins; what are the attachments from which we are so reluctant to free ourselves? May we have self-knowledge, and may we have personal spiritual healing."