Urgent issues of justice must be
resolved for the good of all and for lasting peace
On Monday afternoon, 20 March, Pope John Paul
II arrived at Queen Alia International Airport in Amman, Jordan,
to begin his long-awaited Jubilee Pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
H.M. Abdullah II, King of Jordan, accompanied by the Royal
Family, authorities of Church and State, and the Diplomatic
Corps greeted the Holy Father on the first stage of his
seven-day journey. After being welcomed by the King, the Pope
gave the following address in English.
Members of the Government,
I. In a spirit of profound respect and friendship, I offer
greetings to all who live in the Hashemite Kingdom of
Jordan: the members of the Catholic Church and the other Christian
Churches, the Muslim people whom we followers of Jesus
Christ hold in high esteem, and all men and women of good
My visit to your country and the entire journey which I am
beginning today is part of the religious Jubilee Pilgrimage
which I am making to commemorate the 2,000th anniversary
of the birth of Jesus Christ. From the beginning of my ministry
as Bishop of Rome, I have had a great desire to mark this event
by praying in some of the places linked to salvation history—places that speak to us of that moment's long preparation
through biblical times, places where our Lord Jesus Christ
actually lived, or which are connected with his work of
redemption. My spirit first turns to Ur of the Chaldeans where
Abraham's journey of faith began. I have already been to Egypt and Mount Sinai, where
God revealed his name to Moses and entrusted to him the tablets
of the Law of the Covenant.
2. Today I am in Jordan, a land familiar to me from the Holy
Scriptures: a land sanctified by the presence of Jesus
himself, by the presence of Moses, Elijah and John the Baptist, and of
saints and martyrs of the early Church. Yours is a land noted
for its hospitality and openness to all. These are qualities of
the Jordanian people which I have experienced many times in
conversations with the late King Hussein, and which were
confirmed anew in my meeting with Your Majesty at the
Vatican in September last year.
Your Majesty, I know how deeply concerned you are for peace
in your own land and in the entire region, and how important it
is to you that all Jordanians—Muslims and Christians—should
consider themselves as one people and one family. In this area
of the world there are grave and urgent issues of justice, of the
rights of peoples and nations, which have to be resolved for
the good of all concerned and as a condition for lasting peace.
No matter how difficult, no matter how long, the process of
seeking peace must continue. Without peace, there can be no
authentic development for this region, no better life for its
peoples, no brighter future for its children. That is why
Jordan's proven commitment to securing the conditions
necessary for peace is so important and praiseworthy.
Building a future of peace requires an ever more mature
understanding and ever more practical cooperation among the
peoples who acknowledge the one true, indivisible God, the
Creator of all that exists. The three historical monotheistic
religions count peace, goodness and respect for the human person
among their highest values. I earnestly hope that my visit will
strengthen the already fruitful Christian-Muslim dialogue
which is being conducted in Jordan, particularly through
the Royal Interfaith Institute.
3. The Catholic Church, without forgetting that her
primary mission is a spiritual one, is always eager to
cooperate with individual nations and people of goodwill in
promoting and advancing the dignity of the human person. She
does this particularly in her schools and education
programmes, and through her charitable and social institutions.
Your noble tradition of respect for all religions guarantees the
religious freedom which makes this possible, and which is in
fact a fundamental human right. When this is so, all citizens
feel themselves equal, and each one, inspired by his own
spiritual convictions, can contribute to the building up of
society as the shared home of all.
4. The warm invitation which Your Majesties, the
Government and the people of Jordan have extended to me
is an expression of our common hope for a new era of peace and
development in this region. I am truly grateful, and with deep
appreciation of your kindness I assure you of my prayers for
you, for all the Jordanian people, for the displaced people in
your midst, and for the young people who make up such a large
part of the population.
May Almighty God grant Your Majesties happiness and long
May he bless Jordan with prosperity and peace!