U.N. Is More Necessary Than Ever to Reconstruct Countries, Pope Says

International Law Is a Means to Avoid War, He Stresses

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 15, 2003 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II says that the United Nations has a more important role than ever in the reconstruction of countries, particularly the importance of International Law for world peace.



The Holy Father emphasized the role of the United Nations when receiving the Letters of Credence of the new ambassadors to the Vatican of 12 countries: Australia, Zimbabwe, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, Ethiopia, Latvia, the Fiji Islands, Burundi, Georgia, Vanuatu, Moldavia, and Pakistan.

"Since the period of the great world conflicts, the international community has provided itself with organizations and specific legislation so that war will never break out again, which kills innocent civilian people, devastating regions and leaving wounds that take a long time to heal," the Pope said when greeting all the new ambassadors.

"The United Nations are called to be more than ever the central place of decisions on the reconstruction of countries, and humanitarian organizations are invited to renew their commitment," he stressed.

"This will help affected peoples to take charge rapidly of their destinies, allowing them to pass from fear to hope, from uncertainty to commitment in the construction of their future," the Holy Father added. "Moreover, it is an indispensable condition for confidence to return to the heart of a country."

John Paul II then made an appeal "to all persons who profess a religion so that the spiritual and religious sense may be a source of unity and peace, which never confronts men among themselves."

"I cannot forget the children and youths, who are often the most marked by situations of conflict. As it is very difficult for them to forget what they have experienced, they might be tempted by violence. Our duty is to prepare for them a future of peace and a land of fraternal solidarity," he continued.

In expressing these "concerns of the Catholic Church," the Pope clarified that its commitment "in international life, in relations between peoples, as well as in humanitarian support" responds to a "primordial mission: to manifest God's closeness to every man."