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RELIGION | IN BRIEF

Nobel-Winning Prelate Resigns Over Illness

November 30, 2002|From Times Wire Reports

VATICAN CITY — Pope John Paul II, acting with evident reluctance, has accepted the resignation of Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo, the East Timorese prelate who won a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end conflict in the Indonesian-annexed territory.

Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said in a statement Tuesday that Belo, 54, had previously submitted his resignation several times because of health problems, but the pope did not accept it until Tuesday.

The Rev. Francesco Maraccani, a spokesman for the Salesian order to which Belo belongs, said the prelate was suffering from stress. He praised Belo as a courageous bishop who risked his life for his people. Belo has served since 1988 as apostolic administrator of Dili in East Timor.

The bishop led efforts by the Catholic Church to end fighting between the Indonesian government and guerrilla forces seeking independence for East Timor. He shared the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize with Jose Ramos-Horta for their efforts to find "a just and peaceful solution to the conflict."

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