Pope decries abuse of political authority in Middle East conflict

Posted: Friday, December 20, 2002

VATICAN CITY (AP) -- Pope John Paul II decried abuse of political authority in the Middle East, writing in a message released Tuesday that the region needs leaders who will carry out policies based on respect for human rights and dignity.

In his annual peace message, the pope said that ''the question of peace cannot be separated from the question of human dignity and human rights.''

''Perhaps nowhere today is there a more obvious need for the correct use of political authority than in the dramatic situation of the Middle East and the Holy Land,'' John Paul said in the 16-page message for the Roman Catholic Church's World Day of Peace on Jan. 1.

''Day after day, year after year, the cumulative effect of bitter mutual rejection and the unending chain of violence and retaliation have shattered every effort so far to engage in serious dialogue on the real issues involved,'' the pope said.

He also singled out the ''clash of interests among the members of the international community'' for hampering the peace process.

''Until those in positions of responsibility undergo a veritable revolution in the way they use their power and go about securing their peoples' welfare, it is difficult to image how progress toward peace can be made,'' he said.

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