VATICAN CITY – The Pope John Paul II called for an “new international order” to ensure peace in the world, during his New Year’s Day address, Jan. 1.
This year, the 83-year old pontiff focused on the need for peace in the Middle East and Africa, one that is based on respect for international law, the dignity of man and equality among nations.
He called for "an order that is able to give adequate solutions to today's problems based on the dignity of the human being, on an integral development of society, on solidarity among nations rich and poor, on the sharing of resources and the extraordinary results of scientific and technical progress."
John Paul singled out the assassination of his ambassador to Burundi, Archbishop Michael Courtney, as evidence of the continuing violence between Israel and the Palestinians.
John Paul said Courtney was killed "while he carried out his mission in favor of dialogue and reconciliation" in the central African country, which has been wracked by violence for a decade.
"Let us pray for him, hoping that his example and sacrifice will bring about the fruits of peace in Burundi and the world," he said.
He additionally said a new respect for international law was the only way to achieve peace and guarantee against the arbitrary use of force.
The New Year's Mass was the last major celebration of the Christmas season for John Paul, who suffers from Parkinson's disease among other ailments, making it difficult to speak, walk or stand. Nonetheless, the pontiff delivered his entire homily in a strong and clear voice, inside the St. Peter’s Basilica. The Jan 1 celebration traditionally marks the World Day of Peace for the Roman Catholic Church.