John Paul II Urged Creation of Acceptable Political, Social and Economic Conditions in Bosnia-Herzegovina

On November 30, 2002, when receiving Mr. Ivan Misic, the new ambassador of Bosnia-Herzegovina to the Vatican, John Paul II urged reconciliation and forgiveness so that peace might to take hold in this country.

“It is true that what has happened in the past cannot be erased from the memory, but one can and must free hearts from rancor and vengeance,” the Holy Father said. “The memory of errors and injustices must remain as a severe warning not to repeat one or the other, so that new, perhaps even greater, tragedies might be avoided,” he explained.

The Holy Father said that, “although the war ended almost seven years ago, concrete solutions are still not seen for the drama of numerous refugees and exiles who wish to return to their homes. These peoples see how they are denied the right to live peacefully in their native soil”, he said. They ask for guarantees for their own security “as well as the creation of acceptable political, social and economic conditions,” the Pope emphasized. Moreover, John Paul II pointed out that these people are entitled to “the restitution of their property, of which they were deprived with violence during the war.”