Pope urges prayers so that world is saved from 'vicious scourge of terrorism'

Sunday, September 30th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

VATICAN CITY (AP) _ Declaring Sept. 11 a dark day in history, Pope John Paul II on Sunday called for frequent prayer to help save the world from the ``vicious scourge'' of terrorism and said justice goes hand-in-hand with peace.

Speaking from the window of his private studio overlooking St. Peter's Square, he also encouraged Catholics to be ``on the front lines in the search for justice, in banishing violence and in being agents of peace.''

John Paul invited faithful to say the Rosary, ``possibly every day, for peace, so that the world be saved from the vicious scourge of terrorism.''

``The terrible tragedy of Sept. 11 will be remembered as a dark day in the history of humanity,'' the pontiff said.

He added the church intends to ``remind all men of their duty to construct a future of peace for the entire human family.''

In an apparent reference to the U.S. determination to bring the terrorists to justice, John Paul said, ``Certainly, peace is not separated from justice, but it must always be fed by mercifulness and by love.''

During a trip to Kazakstan a week ago, John Paul prayed: ``I beg God to keep the world in peace,'' an appeal that was taken by some to mean he was insisting that dialogue, not war, might prevail in dealing with terrorism _ in line with his opposition to the Persian Gulf War a decade ago.

But later in the trip, the pope's spokesman, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, spoke of the principle of ``just wars'' _ suggesting the Vatican might not oppose a U.S. military response to the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

In Sunday's appeal to the faithful in St. Peter's Square, John Paul also repeated his frequent calls for unity among Jews, Christians and Muslims, saying they all love one God.

``The three religions, thus, have the vocation of unity and peace.''

John Paul concluded by praying for ``all of humanity, so that hate and death may not have the final word.''

Looking weary, the 81-year-old John Paul drew loud applause after his appeal denouncing terrorism.