Message on the Observance of the World Day of Prayer for Peace
His Holiness the Pope, John Paul II, and to the International Religious Leaders
behalf of the Government and people of the
addition to our prayers, we must join together to take steps to ensure lasting
peace. Man has created awesome weapons in this nuclear age of ours. It is my
fervent goal and hope -- and that I know of all of you -- that we will some day
no longer have to rely on nuclear weapons to deter aggression and assure world
peace. To that end, the
my meetings with General Secretary Gorbachev in
As we seek the reduction and eventual elimination of nuclear weapons, we must also address the serious threats and imbalances in conventional and chemical weapons. Wars fought with non-nuclear weapons, including chemical, are causing suffering and death in many parts of the world. We have proposed a global ban on these chemical weapons, and call on all civilized nations to join us in ridding the world of this menace.
Finally, we recall that true peace is more than the absence of war: it is the presence of justice and mutual respect and tolerance among the peoples of the world. Human rights and human freedom are its indispensable elements. For we know that governments at peace with their own people are not likely to threaten the peace of their neighbors.
Universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms should be a cornerstone of universal peace. Among the most cherished rights is that of all persons to practice their religion or belief, free of interference or persecution. Each of us should be able to seek, unhindered, a relationship with the divinity. I commend this historic meeting for its efforts to lead humanity toward a more tolerant, just, and peaceful world.
Note: The original was not available for verification of the content of this message.