Lima (Fides Service) - Among the many personalities in Rome to take part in celebrations to mark the 25th year of Pope John Paul II’s Pontificate there was also Ambassador Javier Pérez De Cuellar, charged by the Peruvian government to offer the Pope greetings from the government and the people of Peru. From 1981 to 1991 Pérez De Cuellar was Secretary General of the United Nations Organisation and as such he met John Paul II on various occasions.
Fides asked the Ambassador to share his reflections on this Pontificate. “The Holy Father’s greatest contribution at the political diplomatic level is that as a person he is a permanent source of inspiration to peace, not only with his words but with the drawing force of his enormous efforts to put an end to the communist regime in Eastern Europe. He made a determinant contribution to putting an end to the cold war. The end of the cold war facilitated solutions to all the political problems in the United Nations which were systematically opposed by the Soviet Union’s veto”.
“The United Nations take the Pope’s words as a permanent indication because he himself is seen as a source of faith and hope, not only for his teaching but also for his concrete commitment.
Ambassador Perez De Cuellar told Fides that while he was UN Secretary General in his meetings with the Pope he was always impressed by his sincere interest for every international problem and by his great prudence before expressing a personal opinion. “As a Pole the Pope had an obvious and unquestionable aversion to the socialist regime which ruled his country at the time. Nevertheless when he voiced his opinion he was also very careful to distinguish his personal opinion from that of the Church’s position. He handled things with keen intelligence, using balance and tact. So we can say that besides all his other qualities, widely recognised, John Paul is also an excellent diplomat”.
“The Pope is not only head of the Catholic Church he is also a world leader and therefore the value of his message has a world wide impact. The great value of John Paul II’s message and activity for peace does not stop at theoretical teaching, it consists also concrete efforts. His contribution towards building peace lies in his wise discernment of the obstacles on the path to peace: the absence of political will on the part of the main world powers to solve social problems at the root of violence and war ”. “Unfortunately - Perez De Cuellar concludes – we have to admit that progress to reach justice in distribution of world good, which would solve social problems first of all poverty, is slow. I am convinced that this is due to the absence of authentic political will on the part of powerful nations to solve with determination the many social problems.”. (R.Z.) (Fides Service 21/10/2003 – lines 36; words 524)