"PEACE INVOLVES A PERMANENT COMMITMENT," POPE SAYS

Vatican, Apr. 7 (CWNews.com) - At his regular Sunday audience on April 6, Pope John Paul II called for prayers "that by God's will, this war will end quickly."

Speaking on the 17th day of fighting in Iraq, the Holy Father reminded his audience that the coming week (April 11) will mark the 40th anniversary of the landmark encyclical by Pope John XXIII, Pacem in Terris. The message of that encyclical, Pope John Paul said, is "still very current today."

The Pope said that since the outset of the war he has been mindful of those who are caught up in it, especially "the disarmed civilian population which, in different cities, has been submitted to grave trials." He repeated his prayer that the war would "give way to a new era of pardon, love and peace."

Citing several themes from Pacem in Terris, the Pope stressed his predecessor's call to resolve conflicts through negotiation rather than military conflict. "Unfortunately this positive goal of civilization has not yet been reached," he observed.

"Building peace involves a permanent commitment," the Pontiff continued. He said that a culture of peace must be built up, through educating young people in resolving problems amicably. Reminding his audience that thousands of young people will gather in Rome later this week for the observance of World Youth Day, John Paul said that through proper education, the promotion of peace might be "ever more a style of life-- founded, as Pope John taught us, on the four pillars of truth, justice, love, and liberty."

Before leading the audience in the recitation of the Angelus, the Pope prayed that the Virgin Mary would bring "peace in Iraq and in all the regions of the world."