Vatican, Apr. 14 ( - Two leading Vatican prelates have pledged support for UN peace efforts in Iraq.

At an April 12 seminar in Rome, commemorating the 40th anniversary of the famous encyclical Pacem in Terris by Pope John XXIII, Cardinal Angelo Sodano and Archbishop Renato Martino both applied the argument of Pope John to the crisis in Iraq.

Cardinal Sodano, the Vatican Secretary of State, said that the Holy See was continuing its diplomatic efforts to bring a prompt end to the war. "Before the war we tried everything to see that it did not erupt," he said. "Once in began, we worked for it to end as quickly as possible." He said that the UN must be involved in the peacemaking process because "we are a family of nations and we must cooperate."

Archbishop Martino, the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace-- and until recently the Vatican's representative at the UN-- said that the war in Iraq, conducted without UN approval, has caused a crisis for the international body. That crisis, he said, "reinforces and lends urgency to the calls in Pacem in Terris for a world political authority to ensure peace and progress for all people."