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Statement by the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Dr Janez Drnovšek, on the death of Pope John Paul II

Ljubljana, 04/03/2005  |  statement

Click to enlargeSlovenia joins the grieving world mourning the death of John Paul II. Pope John Paul II undoubtedly marked the modern era. Major changes occurred in Europe during the time of his pontificate: the fall of the Iron Curtain, the reunification of Europe. His role in them was truly great. With his messages and his spiritual influence, the Pope was a champion of freedom, encouraging people to make a brave stand also in moments of precarious changes fraught with an uncertain outcome. This is how we also remember the Pope in Slovenia, since he contributed considerably to Slovenia's establishing its independence and gaining international recognition. We will remember him as a close friend of Slovenia. We will always retain a fond memory of his two visits to our country and we are glad that the Pope himself recalled those occasions with pleasure.

Click to enlargePope John Paul II’s message to the world has many facets; it is chiefly a message of peace, an appeal to Mankind to change its ways, to strive for greater harmony and to bring a halt to self-destructive development. In the era of globalisation, with technology proceeding at a formidable pace, it is of major importance that such material development by Mankind be accompanied also by spiritual advance. The Pope was aware of this and endeavoured to emphasise, through his word and his messages, that Mankind must change both itself and its ways, that there must be no more wars, that we must find the necessary medicines, and methods to stop the ever increasing social injustice in the world, and that we must also put a stop to the destruction of our environment. These are the messages of his legacy. These are the messages also arising from other religions. I, therefore, find it of particular importance that Pope John Paul II sought contact and dialogue with other religions and strove to achieve a better understanding and greater closeness between all religions in this shared aim to bring about the harmonious development of Mankind. This is indeed one of the Pope’s most important achievements.

I expect and hope that his successors, too, will follow this message and that the heads of other religions in the world will continue in this pursuit. We will be successful only in this way and in a shared endeavour in the spiritual domain, matched by joint endeavours of religious and political leaders and, indeed, of all people and individuals in the world who have at heart the establishment of a harmonious progress that will enable the long-term survival of Mankind. It is today especially important that this message by the Pope, and the understanding of this message, should achieve its full resonance.