POPE URGES MIDEAST LEADERS: WORK FOR PEACE

VATICAN, Nov. 8, 00 (CWNews.com) -- Pope John Paul II has written to the
leaders of the Catholic Church in the Holy Land, urging them to redouble
their efforts to promote the flagging peace process there.

The Pope's letter, dated November 6 and addressed to Patriarch Michel
Sabbah of Jerusalem, was made public by the Vatican on November 8. In it
the Pope writes that Jewish and Muslim leaders should also work for peace.

Recalling his own pilgrimage to the Holy Land, the Pope says, "I think with
emotion of all the places that speak of the history of God and man." He adds
that "the trials that the people of the Holy Land are enduring these days is a
cause of great suffering for me."

While the violence of recent weeks is undoubtedly a setback for the peace
process, the Holy Father writes, "no one should become resigned or fatalistic"
about the prospects. He repeats his insistence that Israelis and Palestinians
are "called by geography and history to live together." And he stresses: "they
cannot do so in a peaceful and lasting way unless everyone's fundamental
rights are secured."