Pope says war and poverty diminish human dignity

 Violence and extreme poverty around the world is eroding human dignity, Pope Benedict told diplomats accredited to the Holy See at their traditional New Year meeting on Monday. In a wide-ranging address the Pope praised the efforts of those working to build peace. He said that in the Middle East, in Africa and wherever violence and extreme poverty threaten human life and dignity, people must recognise the truth that all people are created equal and have a right to exist in freedom. "Bloodshed does not cry out for revenge, but begs for respect for life, for peace." The Holy Father then referred to ongoing tensions in Israel and the Palestinian territories, Lebanon, Iraq, the Darfur region of Sudan and the Great Lakes region of Africa and spoke of the threat to peace caused by terrorism, extreme poverty and human trafficking. The resolution of differences must be based on the truth about people and their communities, that they are equal but have legitimate differences that must be balanced. Pope Benedict said the Israeli-Palestinian conflict illustrated what he meant: "The State of Israel has to be able to exist peacefully in conformity with the norms of international law" and "the Palestinian people has to be able to develop serenely its own democratic institutions for a free and prosperous future." A commitment to truth, he said, also implied that an individual or a nation was able to recognise when it had made a mistake and was able to seek forgiveness. "There can be no peace without justice, no justice without forgiveness," he said. Source: VIS

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