ROME (Jan. 5)
Pope Paul VI today delivered his fourth appeal in a week for peace in the Middle East. The Pontiff spoke as he gave his weekly blessing to a crowd in St. Peter’s Square on the fifth anniversary of his pilgrimage to the Holy Land. He said Middle East conflicts are “painful for us, perhaps more than for others.” The head of the Roman Catholic Church on three previous occasions has expressed grave concern over renewed violence in the Middle East and has called on Arabs and Israelis to halt guerrilla activities, terrorism and acts of reprisal. Today he recalled his plea for peace on this day in 1964 when he met in Jerusalem with the Greek Orthodox Patriarch Athenagoras, a meeting that was hailed as the beginning of a rapprochement between the two churches after 900 years of separation. “Our wish for peace was then, and is still, for the populations resident there and at odds there because of conflicts known to all and painful for us perhaps more than for others,” he said.