Pope urges a turn to peace

Los Angeles Times - - THE WORLD -

Pope Fran­cis heard about the hor­rors of Bos­nia’s frat­ri­ci­dal war of the 1990s and the slow process of heal­ing as he vis­ited Sara­jevo to urge Mus­lims, Ortho­dox and Catholics to put the “bar­bar­ity” of the past be­hind them and work to­gether for a peace­ful fu­ture.

Thou­sands of Bos­ni­ans cheered Fran­cis, lin­ing the mo­tor­cade route through the mostly Mus­lim city of 300,000. About 65,000, most of them Catholics, packed the same Sara­jevo sta­dium where St. John Paul II said an emo­tional post­war Mass of rec­on­cil­i­a­tion in1997.

The most poignant mo­ment of the day came when two Catholic priests and a nun told Fran­cis of their ex­pe­ri­ences dur­ing the war, of be­ing kid­napped, tor­tured and starved by Mus­lim or Serb Ortho­dox Chris­tian troops. Moved by the tes­ti­mony, Fran­cis bowed down to one of them and asked for his bless­ing.

Fran­cis told a gath­er­ing of priests and nuns in Sara­jevo’s cathe­dral that they must never for­get the “cru­elty” in­flicted on their fel­low Catholics — not to seek vengeance, but to show the power of for­give­ness.

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