by Christopher Rails
CARDINAL HUME has replied positively to a telegram to London from the Argentine bishops asking the British hierarchy to join them in the search for a peaceful solution to the Falklands dispute.
The Argentine telegram was sent on April 26 and signed by Cardinal Juan Carlos Aramburu of Buenos Aires. Its text read as follows: "In face of warlike confrontation, with tragic and unforeseen consequences, we ask our brother bishops of Great Britain to unite in prayer and effort to pursue the supreme good of peace between our fellow nations."
Cardinal Hume replied on behalf of the English and Welsh hierarchy: "Catholics of England and Wales pray that peace will be maintained, rights and freedoms respected. Urge every effort to commend negotiated and just settlement."
The Pope has sent two further messages, one to the Queen, the other to President Galtieri of Argentina, asking for a peaceful solution to the conflict. The Vatican did not release the text of the messages, but a Vatican spokesman, Fr Romeo Panciroli, said they were similar to the public peace calls issued by the Pope on April 25, in which he expressed hopes for a peaceful solution, and called an armed conflict "deplorable in itself".
Since sending the messages, the Pope has expressed deep sorrow and concern over the military confrontation.
He told 60,000 tourists in St Peter's Square on Sunday: "That which I feared and which I hoped would not happen has become a reality." The Pope lamented what he called the apparent incapability of men locked in serious conflict to resolve their argument without resorting to violence.
The Catholic Institute for International Relations, in common with other lay groups in Britain, has issued a statement in which it says the two sides in the dispute should submit to arbitration by the United Nations.
Meanwhile, Archbishop Derek Worlock of Liverpool, who is Vice-president of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, returned from Rome last weekend with the news that the Vatican has made no decision to cancel the Pope's visit to Britain because of the Falklands dispute.
"Quite certainly no decision has been taken to cancel or postpone the visit, nor indeed is such a decision under active consideration at this time. The Holy See still hopes and prays for a settlement" said the archbishop.
"I have no doubt that the Holy Father is looking forward keenly to his visit to Britain. He attaches great importance to it" said Archbishop Worlock.
Speaking in Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral this week, the Archbishop said that the real horror of war was that "it is mothers' sons who lose their lives, often leaving widows and fatherless children." He added: "We must pray that the obvious dangers of escalation may be overcome."
Archbishop Worlock was addressing more than 1,000 people at the fifth annual Mass for workers. He acknowledged that there could be justifiable recourse to arms "in self-defence and in face of aggression — yet peace and justice remain our objective today."