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Farewell to a Champion of Human Rights

Tuesday 5 April, 2005

Farewell to a Champion of Human Rights

As pilgrims flock to the Vatican for the funeral of Pope John Paul II, Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand, the Catholic Agency for justice, peace and development, together with millions of Catholics and non-Catholics around the world are celebrating the life of Pope John Paul II and mourning his passing.

“The Holy Father was a great champion of human rights,” said Caritas CEO, Mike Smith. “He was an outspoken advocate for peace, and for social justice, he fought against the suffering brought about by poverty and truly believed in the dignity of humanity.”

In the Papal message on World Peace Day in 1998 he said: “Justice and peace are not abstract concepts or remote ideals. They are values which dwell, as a common patrimony, in the heart of every individual. Individuals, families, communities and nations, all are called to live in justice and to work for peace. No one can claim exemption from this.”

“His teachings and own example are an inspiration to us as we work together with our Caritas partners around the world,” said Smith.

“It is a sad time for the Church and also for many people of other faiths who were touched by the qualities of this deeply spiritual man. But while there is sadness there is also cause to celebrate the life of one who did so much to promote peace and speak out against injustice. He will be greatly missed.”


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