Pope Paul, in his New Year address on Friday, (1st January) praised the decisions of the Soviet and Spanish governments to show clemency to those condemned to death in the Burgos and Leningrad trials.
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Background: Pope Paul, in his New Year address on Friday, (1st January) praised the decisions of the Soviet and Spanish governments to show clemency to those condemned to death in the Burgos and Leningrad trials. His address from the window of his vatican apartment was applauded enthusiastically by the thousands of pilgrims who made the annual journey to hear his New Year speech.
The Pope said that the acts of clemency would be written in the annals of world peace. Two men sentenced to death in the Leningrad hijack trial had their sentences cut to 15 years in a labour colony. Six Basque nationalists sentenced to death in Burgos had their sentences commuted to 30 years imprisonment.
The Pope said that these acts of mercy were in the true spirit of peace. Peace was the victory of good over evil, he said, the end of the system of "an eye for a eye, a tooth for a tooth, which perpetuates hatred and bloodshed".
The Pope ended by wishing pilgrims a happy new year "under the protection of the Queen of peace". He has asked that January 1st be celebrated as a day of peace.