Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher is wrapping up a week-long visit to Japan during which he met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and celebrated Mass in the city of Hiroshima.
The Vatican Secretary for Relations with States confirmed the Holy
See's cooperation with Japan regarding the elimination of nuclear
On Wednesday Archbishop Gallagher held a ‘Lectio Magistralis’ at the
Jesuit-run University of Sophia in Tokyo, dedicated to the promotion of a
culture of peace.
During his lesson, Gallagher spoke of the important contribution made
by a Catholic University which takes into account a global and not
merely intellectual formation of the whole person.
Quoting Pope Francis he said that “if the university becomes no more
than an academy of ideas or an assembly line of professionals, or its
structure is determined by a business mentality, then it has truly lost
He said that one must never tire of looking at the world, with its
events and actors, critically but also constructively, asking us not to
“exclude” and appealing for “necessary dialogue” as a method proper to
cultural and educational processes.
Referring to the core message of his lesson, Gallagher said “the
question of peace involves more than politics or diplomatic activity; it
is directly linked to culture and to the sphere of ethics and moral
conscience that can generate much apprehension, yet is so greatly needed
in international relations”.
He pointed out that the “vision of peace proposed by the magisterium
of the Catholic Church does not necessarily coincide with that current
in the community of the nations, as summarized, for example, by the
contents of the UN Charter. The difference does not simply have to do
with issues involving the use of force or the obligations incumbent upon
states, but with the conviction that peace calls first and foremost for
preventing the causes that lead to war.
“To bring about true peace, it
is necessary to bring people together concretely so as to reconcile
peoples and groups with opposing ideological positions. It is also
necessary to work together for what persons, families, peoples and
nations feel is their right, namely to participate on a social,
political and economic level in the goods of the modern world”.
Thus, Gallagher said, peace on earth is thus the result of any number of factors, of which a culture of peace is the vehicle.
He said Pope speaks of “a war being fought piecemeal” as a way of
perceiving, among the many possible causes of conflict (selfish
interests, poverty, lack of development, territorial dominion, spheres
of influence...), the one that is essential.
Working for peace, he said, demands returning to the bases of human
relationships and thus recovering the bases of the internal order of
nations and the international order.
“As Pope Francis sees it, this means that true peace cannot come
about “without the recognition of certain incontestable natural ethical
limits and without the immediate implementation of those pillars of
integral human development”.
A true culture of peace, then, calls for
concrete commitments requiring solid and structured foundations: exactly
the opposite of the frequently heard idea that “a single theoretical
and aprioristic solution will provide an answer to all the challenges”.
Archbishop Gallagher’s long lesson goes on to illustrate tools that are
at the disposal of world leaders, he talks about the culture of peace
and the threat to peace which today “comes not only from traditional
wars and hostilities, whether domestic or international, but also from
He talks of a return to the vision of just peace which includes
religious freedom in its varied forms, among which is conscientious
objection and points out that a culture of peace can also make a huge
contribution to anti-terrorism strategies.
Archbishop Gallagher talked about the goals to be achieved, the use
of dialogue, discussion and negotiation as well as “the language of the
magisterium, this involves a correct and consistent application of the
principle of subsidiarity”.
He reflected on the areas of development and international cooperation,
on the more general fight against poverty which “presupposes a common
agreement that can only be the result of an effective solidarity between
“This would involve a greater appreciation of the role of intellectual
property, an area in which a consistent culture of peace is called to
recognize the right of researchers and producers to just compensation,
so that new developments can truly be at the service of the common good
of the human family” he said.
Gallagher concluded calling for a “prophetic vision that can bring
together the human, cultural and religious aspects and thus offer our
contemporary world a firm common witness to the service of goodness, the
service of dialogue and the service of peace.
In this context, the
university has a fundamental task as a place of encounter between faith
and reason, between memory of the past and scientific development
towards the future, and as a place of encounter and discussion between
different visions of life, technology, politics and religious
convictions. That task is to prepare the way for a future of peace, an
attainable future, a future for all”.