In Bosnia, pope denounces 'inhuman logic of violence'
Roman Catholic leader on pilgrimage to Sarajevo
April 12, 1997
Web posted at: 10:20 p.m. EST (0320 GMT)
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (CNN) -- Before throngs of
priests and nuns who raised their arms to touch him, Pope
John Paul II Saturday brought Bosnians the symbolic peace
candle that had been kept alight at the Vatican as war
devastated their country.
(1.7M/48 sec. QuickTime movie) - Christiane Amanpour reports on the pope's arrival in Bosnia
But even as the Roman Catholic spiritual leader talked about
the light of peace, Bosnian authorities were trying to
determine who had hidden a cache of explosives under a bridge
along the route of John Paul's motorcade.
The explosives were found and disabled before they could
present any danger to the pope.
Seated in front of shell-damaged stained-glass windows at
Sarajevo's Sacred Heart Cathedral, John Paul denounced the
"crazed logic of death, division and annihilation" that
characterized the Bosnian civil war, while praising those who
"strove to break down the dividing wall."
At an earlier ceremony at Sarajevo's airport, the pope
emphatically stated, "Never again war."
"The inhuman logic of violence must be replaced by the
constructive logic of peace," John Paul said. "The natural
instinct for revenge must yield to the liberating power of
Bosnian trip originally planned in 1994
John Paul is on a 25-hour pilgrimage to the Bosnian capital.
He had originally planned the trip during amidst the civil
war in 1994, but Serb forces besieging the city refused to
guarantee his safety.
The highlight of John Paul's visit is expected to be an
outdoor Mass Sunday morning before 40,000 people at
Sarajevo's Kosevo Stadium.
Shortly before the pope arrived Saturday, police found mines,
plastic explosives and detonators underneath a bridge over
which John Paul's motorcade was to pass on its way from the
airport into the city center. The Bosnian Interior Ministry
said the explosives were apparently planted overnight.
After the discovery, NATO forces brought helicopters to the
airport to fly the pope downtown so he would not have to
drive into the city in his glass-topped "popemobile." But
John Paul refused the offer.
"The pope said, 'No, I wouldn't even think of it.' He wanted
to take the popemobile because it was important to see the
people," said chief Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls.
There was no immediate indication of who planted the
explosives. But in recent weeks, there have been a series of
explosions at churches and mosques in Bosnia -- an apparent
attempt to discourage the pope from coming to Sarajevo.
Pope hailed for speaking up during civil war
At the airport ceremony, Alija Izetbegovic, the Muslim
chairman of Bosnia's collective three-man presidency, thanked
John Paul for his outspoken support during the nearly
four-year siege of the Bosnian capital.
"For 1,300 days of Sarajevo's drama, important people in the
world who were supposed to act kept their eyes closed," said
Izetbegovic, addressing the pontiff. "But not you. You were
not silent. Your voice was clear."
During his visit to Bosnia, the pope planned separate
meetings with members of the presidency, who represent the
country's Muslim, Serb and Croat factions.
Those three groups battled each other for hegemony in Bosnia
after the country declared independence from Yugoslavia in
1992. Croats are predominately Roman Catholic; most Serbs are
The Serb representative to the Bosnian presidency, Momcilo
Krajisnik, declined to attend Saturday's welcoming ceremony
for the pope, citing security concerns. But he was scheduled
to meet with John Paul during the pope's Bosnian stay.
During the war, the pope was an outspoken supporter of
Bosnian statehood, a position that angered leaders of the
Correspondent Christiane Amanpour and Reuters contributed to this report.
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