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Pope Benedict XVI mentions Iraq

April 8, 2007

In his Easter 2007 Urbi et Orbi message delivered today, Pope Benedict XVI mentions the grave and sickening situation in Iraq. After four years of U.S. presence in Iraq and the Bush administration’s utter inability to handle the consequences of its desired occupation, the Pope, who is not intellectually wedded to American interests like many U.S. Catholics, soberly remarked:

In the Middle East, besides some signs of hope in the dialogue between Israel and the Palestinian authority, nothing positive comes from Iraq, torn apart by continual slaughter as the civil population flees.

For the entire 2007 Urbi et Orbi message, which contains much more than lamentation over world violence and suffering, click here. From where I stand, the most moving passage comes at the conclusion:

Brothers and sisters in faith, who are listening to me from every part of the world! Christ is risen and he is alive among us. It is he who is the hope of a better future. As we say with Thomas: “My Lord and my God!”, may we hear again in our hearts the beautiful yet demanding words of the Lord: “If any one serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there shall my servant be also; if any one serves me, the Father will honour him” (Jn 12:26). United to him and ready to offer our lives for our brothers (cf. 1 Jn 3:16), let us become apostles of peace, messengers of a joy that does not fear pain – the joy of the Resurrection.

Let us pray for the conversion of President Bush and of all American Catholics who uncritically hold military violence to be more fruitful and “practical” than the peaceful and submissive example of our Lord. The former breeds more violence and oppression; the latter is so powerful that even death falls to its knees before the presence of Love.

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