06/07/2019, 18.20
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D-Day: Card. Ouellet, faith and culture of encounter against skepticism and relativism

Promoting peace "does not only involve religious convictions translated into social values, but also an increased rational commitment, to transform the world according to the imperative of unconditional respect for the dignity of the human person".

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The unprecedented destruction caused by the Second World War, the growth of Islamism with its internal conflicts, the tensions caused by the growth of Chinese influence and the new arms race with the spread of atomic weapons have  provoked "a long and heavy wave of skepticism and relativism".  The Catholic Church opposes all of this with the promotion "of a culture of encounter, dialogue and integration that invites us to work in synergy with the Spirit of God so that justice, solidarity, compassion and love which free humanity from the scourge of war will prevail ”.

This is the reflection proposed by Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, in a speech at the Abbey of Saint-Etienne in Caen, France, on the occasion of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Normandy landings, ample excerpts of which were published by l'Osservatore Romano.

Pope Francis also marked the occassion in a message to the bishop of Bayeux-Lisieux, Msgr.  Jean-Claude Boulanger, in which he wrote that the commemoration is an invitation to Europe, to "Christians of all denominations, believers of other religions and men of good will, to promote a true universal brotherhood, fostering a culture of encounter and dialogue,  caring for the little ones and the poor ".

In his address Card. Ouellet states  "First of all, we have a duty to pay homage to the victims.  Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger stated here, fifteen years ago, with great authority, that the last war was entirely just from the point of view of the involvement of the allies against Hitler's madness, since it was necessary to restore the right of the European peoples, including Germany, against Nazi barbarism.  However, whatever the legitimacy of this war, whatever the interests at stake and the circumstances that led to the explosion of these conflicts, whatever the noble motivations of the combatants and the objective justifications for the clashes, the Second World War has meant for humanity the experience of a disproportion, both in terms of the means employed and in terms of the consequences suffered by the populations ”.  He remembered, in this regard, the atomic bombs on Japan and "the escalation from the Armenian and Ukrainian genocides to the Soviet gulags and to the extermination camps of the Shoah, a homicidal madness saturated with innumerable innocent victims and incurable wounds of body and soul"  , "To the point that some have declared that they can no longer believe in God after Auschwitz".

 "If in the past there was an optimistic wave of belief in progress and naive trust in the promises of science, humanity has now experienced the disenchantment of the world caused by wars, whose memory now accompanies not only historians and philosophers, but also popular culture.  The fall of totalitarian ideologies, built on a supposed sense of history, has given way to a long and heavy wave of skepticism and relativism".

"The memory of the victims of this massacre imposes a tribute of respect and a duty to prevent conflicts by all means.  Safeguarding peace is everyone's responsibility, a responsibility of women and men of our globalized, torn and over-armed world, as well as of our multicultural societies subjected to the challenges of hospitality, cohabitation and integration.  The Catholic Church offers the witness of her faith in Christ, the Prince of Peace, who supports her commitment to peace in the world as it is, but aimed at a horizon of universal human brotherhood as an anticipation and prophecy of the Kingdom of God "  .

Believing in peace, continues the Canadian Cardinal, "does not only involve religious convictions translated into social values, but also an increased rational commitment, to transform the world according to the imperative of unconditional respect for the dignity of the human person, unfortunately undermined by an  ideological colonization hostile to the sacred character of human life itself.  In this difficult context, to believe in peace is also to rely on the efficacy of prayer for peace, since the Spirit of God directs human history towards its transcendent fulfillment with the imperfect but voluntary contribution of human freedoms.  These open with prayer to a greater influence of Grace that can bend events in the direction of peace ".

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