Syria, Israel, Palestine, Iraq, Egypt, Nigeria, Mali, Congo, the Horn of Africa: Countries and regions where war and violence are in still ongoing or there are strong tensions that threaten peace.
Which also includes among its
"enemies" the economic crisis - in which "we need to rediscover
the meaning of work and proportionate profit" - a "self-referencing" concept of human rights -
through which the peace-building also passes - and the lack of respect for
More shadows than light in
Benedict XVI's examination of to the global situation, the traditional subject
of the Pope's meeting with representatives of countries and international
organizations with which the Holy See has diplomatic relations.
Today, listening to the analysis of the Pope there were 182 diplomats to which,
first, Benedict XVI recalled that the Church in dialogue with the civil
authorities around the world, "has at heart the integral spiritual and
material good of each man and woman, and seeks to advance their transcendent
In the Christian view, in fact,
"the glorification of God and human peace on earth are closely linked,
with the result that peace is not simply the fruit of human effort, but a
participation in the very love of God. It is precisely man's forgetfulness of
God, and his failure to give him glory, which gives rise to violence. Indeed,
once we no longer make reference to an objective and transcendent truth, how is
it possible to achieve an authentic dialogue? In this case, is it not
inevitable that violence, open or veiled, becomes the ultimate rule in human
relationships? Indeed, without openness to the transcendent, human beings
easily become prey to relativism and find it difficult to act justly and to
work for peace."
consequences of forgetfulness of God cannot be separated from those resulting
from ignorance of his true countenance, the root of a baneful religious
fanaticism which, again in 2012, reaped victims in some countries represented
is a falsification of religion itself, since religion aims instead at
reconciling men and women with God, at illuminating and purifying consciences,
and at making it clear that each human being is the image of the Creator . Consequently,
if the glorification of God and earthly peace are closely linked, it seems
evident that peace is both God's gift and a human task, one which demands our
free and conscious response".
Quoting from his message
for World Day for Pecae entitled Blessed
are the peacemakers, the Pope says "Civil and
political authorities before all others have a grave responsibility to work for
peace. They are the first called to resolve the numerous conflicts causing
bloodshed in our human family, beginning with that privileged region in God's
plan, the Middle East. I think first and foremost of Syria, torn apart by
endless slaughter and the scene of dreadful suffering among its civilian
population. I renew my appeal for a ceasefire and the inauguration as quickly
as possible of a constructive dialogue aimed at putting an end to a conflict
which will know no victors but only vanquished if it continues, leaving behind
it nothing but a field of ruins". For
this reason the Pope asks the ambassadors to "to continue to
make your Governments aware of this, so that essential aid will urgently be
made available to face this grave humanitarian situation".
turn with deep concern towards the Holy Land. Following Palestine's recognition
as a Non-Member Observer State of the United Nations, I again express the hope
that, with the support of the international community, Israelis and
Palestinians will commit themselves to peaceful coexistence within the
framework of two sovereign states, where respect for justice and the legitimate
aspirations of the two peoples will be preserved and guaranteed.
become what your name signifies! A city of peace and not of division; a prophecy
of the Kingdom of God and not a byword for instability and opposition!
turn my thoughts towards the beloved Iraqi people, I express my hope that they
will pursue the path of reconciliation in order to arrive at the stability for
which they long".
Lebanon - he continued - where last September I met the various groups which
make up society, may the many religious traditions there be cultivated by all
as a true treasure for the country and for the whole region, and may Christians
offer an effective witness for the building of a future of peace, together with
all men and women of good will!"
"In North Africa too, cooperation between all the members of society is
of primary concern, and each must be guaranteed full citizenship, the liberty
publicly to profess their religion and the ability to contribute to the common
good. I assure all Egyptians of my closeness and my prayers at this time when
new institutions are being set in place".
to sub-Saharan Africa, I encourage the efforts being made to build peace,
especially in those places where the wounds of war remain open and where their
grave humanitarian consequences are being felt. I think particularly of the
Horn of Africa, and the East of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where new
of acts of violence have erupted, forcing many people to abandon their homes,
families and surroundings. Nor can I fail to mention other threats looming on
the horizon. Nigeria is regularly the scene of terrorist attacks which reap
victims above all among the Christian faithful gathered in prayer, as if hatred
intended to turn temples of prayer and peace into places of fear and division.
I was deeply saddened to learn that, even in the days when we celebrated
Christmas, some Christians were barbarously put to death. Mali is also torn by
violence and marked by a profound institutional and social crisis, one which
calls for the effective attention of the international community. In the
Central African Republic, I hope that the talks announced as taking place shortly
will restore stability and spare the people from reliving the throes of civil
But in the thought of Benedict
XVI "the building of peace always comes about by the
protection of human beings and their fundamental rights", starting with the right to life. In this
context, the Pope is "was gratified that a resolution of the
Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, in January of last year,
called for the prohibition of euthanasia, understood as the intentional killing
by act or omission of a dependent human being. At the same time, I must note
with dismay that, in various countries, even those of Christian tradition,
efforts are being made to introduce or expand legislation which decriminalizes
abortion. Direct abortion, that is to say willed as an end or as a means, is
gravely contrary to the moral law".
especially in the West, one frequently encounters ambiguities about the meaning
of human rights and their corresponding duties. Rights are often confused with
exaggerated manifestations of the autonomy of the individual, who becomes
self-referential, no longer open to encounter with God and with others, and
absorbed only in seeking to satisfy his or her own needs. To be authentic, the
defence of rights must instead consider human beings integrally, in their
personal and communitarian dimensions".
Regarding the economic
crisis, also a cause of tensions" developed because profit was all
too often made absolute, to the detriment of labour, and because of
unrestrained ventures in the financial areas of the economy, rather than
attending to the real economy. There is a need, then, to rediscover the meaning
of work and proportionate profit. To that end, it would be well to teach people
how to resist the temptations of particular and short-term interests, and to
look instead to the common good".
A goal that can be obtained
only by formation in the workplace. "' un obiettivo la realizzazione del
quale passa anche attraverso il lavoro formativo. "Investment in education in the
developing countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America means helping them to
overcome poverty and disease, and to create legal systems which are equitable
and respectful of human dignity. Certainly, if justice is to be achieved, good
economic models, however necessary, are not sufficient. Justice is achieved
only when people are just! Consequently, building peace means training
individuals to fight corruption, criminal activity, the production and trade in
narcotics, as well as abstaining from divisions and tensions which threaten to
exhaust society, hindering development and peaceful coexistence".
in society is also put at risk by certain threats to religious liberty: it is a
question sometimes of the marginalization of religion in social life; sometimes
of intolerance or even of violence towards individuals, symbols of religious
identity and religious institutions. It even happens that believers, and
Christians in particular, are prevented from contributing to the common good by
their educational and charitable institutions. In order effectively to
safeguard the exercise of religious liberty it is essential to respect the
right of conscientious objection. This "frontier" of liberty touches upon
principles of great importance of an ethical and religious character, rooted in
the very dignity of the human person. They are, as it were, the "bearing walls"
of any society that wishes to be truly free and democratic. Thus, outlawing
individual and institutional conscientious objection in the name of liberty and
pluralism paradoxically opens by contrast the door to intolerance and forced
in an ever more open world, building peace through dialogue is no longer a
choice but a necessity! From this perspective, the joint declaration between
the President of the Bishops' Conference of Poland and the Patriarch of Moscow,
signed last August, is a strong signal given by believers for the improvement
of relations between the Russian and Polish peoples. I would also like to
mention the peace accord concluded recently in the Philippines and I would like
to underline the role of dialogue between religions for a peaceful coexistence
in the region of Mindanao".
Concluding, Benedict XVI
quoted from Paul VI's message to world leaders which concluded Vatican II 50
years ago: "Your task is to be in the world the promoters of order
and peace among men. But never forget this: It is God [...] who is the great
artisan of order and peace on earth ".