POPE VOICES CONCERNS ABOUT HOLY LAND VIOLENCE

VATICAN, Jan 21, 02 (CWNews.com) - During his Sunday
Angelus audience on January 20, Pope John Paul II expressed
new concern about the escalation of violence in the Holy
Land.

"One more time, with great sorrow, I feel obliged to call
attention to the tragic situation in the Holy Land, where
repeated attacks and reprisals each day sow the seeds of
blood and death," the Pontiff told a large audience of
pilgrims assembled in St. Peter's Square under a light rain
. "This perverse logic does not lead to any conclusion." He
renewed his appeal to international leaders to work for a
peaceful resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict.

The Holy Father spoke at greater length about the
inter-religious day of prayer for peace, to be held in
Assisi on Thursday, January 24. He said that mankind must
come together in prayer in order to overcome "the risks of
new conflicts" in the aftermath of September 11. "It is now
urgent to intensify the prayer for peace," he said. He urged
religious communities in particular to unite in prayer for
peace on the appointed day.

Pope John Paul said that the inter-religious observance
must not be understood as any sort of religious syncretism.
Rather than minimizing differences on theological issues, he
said, all religious groups must recognize that they hold in
common a commitment to peace and justice. He argued that
responsible religious leaders should "renounce and isolate
those who employ the name of God for ends and activities
that actually offend him."

The Pope also said that he felt "spiritually close" to the
families suffering as the result of a volcanic eruption in
the town of Goma, in the Democratic Republic of Congo.