09/11/2017, 12.21
VATICAN-COLOMBIA

Pope in Colombia: political peace is not enough to make peace, it is a "social and cultural pact"

From Cartagena the last stop of the trip to Colombia, Francis makes an appeal to "take the first step" towards reconciliation. "Put an end to drug trafficking," which sows "death and destruction, destroying so many hopes and destroying so many families."

Cartagena (AsiaNews) –Political arrangements and the good will of elites is not enough to build peace in Colombia: everyone, starting with those who have suffered, must commit themselves to the common good, justice and equity, for "a social and cultural pact". This is the appeal by Pope Francis on the last night of his trip to Colombia, before departing for Rome, where he should arrive at 12.30 local time.

The last act of the trip, the Mass celebrated in Cartagena, during which he also condemned the "narcotics plague". An appeal to "end drug trafficking," which sows "death and destruction, destroying so many hopes and destroying so many families." Drugs are a bad thing that "directly affects the dignity of the human person and gradually breaks the image that the Creator has shaped in us." And "I firmly condemn - he says - those who have put an end to so many lives", the action of "unscrupulous men". "You can not play with the lives of our brothers or manipulate their dignity."

500,000 people gathered in the port area of ​​Cartagena, where the Pope urged them to make that "first step" that was the motto of the journey. " Here, in the Sanctuary of Saint Peter Claver, where the progress and application of human rights in Colombia continue to be studied and monitored in a systematic way, the Word of God speaks to us of forgiveness, correction, community and prayer".

"During these past few days - Francis's words - I have heard many testimonies from those who have reached out to people who had harmed them; terrible wounds that I could see in their own bodies; irreparable losses that still bring tears.  Yet they have reached out, have taken a first step on a different path to the one already travelled.  For decades Colombia has yearned for peace but, as Jesus teaches, two sides approaching each other to dialogue is not enough; it has also been necessary to involve many more actors in this dialogue aimed at healing sins.  The Lord tells us in the Gospel: “If your brother does not listen to you, take one or two others along with you” (Mt 18:16)..

Finding the solution to evil in our personal encounter with Jesus

“We have learned that these ways of making peace, of placing reason above revenge, of the delicate harmony between politics and law, cannot ignore the involvement of the people.  Peace is not achieved by normative frameworks and institutional arrangements between well-intentioned political or economic groups.  Jesus finds the solution to the harm inflicted through a personal encounter between the parties.  It is always helpful, moreover, to incorporate into our peace processes the experience of those sectors that have often been overlooked, so that communities themselves can influence the development of collective memory.  “The principal author, the historic subject of this process, is the people as a whole and their culture, and not a single class, minority, group or elite. We do not need plans drawn up by a few for the few, or an enlightened or outspoken minority which claims to speak for everyone. It is about agreeing to live together, a social and cultural pact” (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 239).

We can contribution greatly to this new step that Colombia wants to take.  Jesus tells us that this path of reintegration into the community begins with a dialogue of two persons.  Nothing can replace that healing encounter; no collective process excuses us from the challenge of meeting, clarifying, forgiving.  Deep historic wounds necessarily require moments where justice is done, where victims are given the opportunity to know the truth, where damage is adequately repaired and clear commitments are made to avoid repeating those crimes.  But that is only the beginning of the Christian response.  We are required to generate “from below” a change in culture: so that we respond to the culture of death and violence, with the culture of life and encounter."

It is to make "the first step" by going "meeting others with Christ the Lord" by renouncing "the pretense of being forgiven without forgiving, being loved without loving": only if we help to "dissolve the knots of violence", will we avoid what the Pontiff calls the "complex clash of clashes". " a sin committed by one person challenges us all, but involves, primarily, the victim of someone’s sin. " who is called to "take the initiative" so the one who has caused hurt "is not lost".

 

" To “take the first step” is, above all, to go out and meet others with Christ the Lord.  And he always asks us to take a determined and sure step towards our brothers and sisters, and to renounce our claim to be forgiven without showing forgiveness, to be loved without showing love.  If Colombia wants a stable and lasting peace, it must urgently take a step in this direction, which is that of the common good, of equity, of justice, of respect for human nature and its demands.  Only if we help to untie the knots of violence, will we unravel the complex threads of disagreements.  We are asked to take the step of meeting with our brothers and sisters, and to risk a correction that does not want to expel but to integrate.  And we are asked to be charitably firm in that which is not negotiable.  In short, the demand is to build peace, “speaking not with the tongue but with hands and works” (Saint Peter Claver), and to lift up our eyes to heaven together.  The Lord is able to untie that which seems impossible to us, and he has promised to accompany us to the end of time, and will bring to fruition all our efforts. "

We respond to the culture of death, with the culture of life

"We can contribute greatly to this new step that Colombia wants to take.  Jesus tells us that this path of reintegration into the community begins with a dialogue of two persons.  Nothing can replace that healing encounter; no collective process excuses us from the challenge of meeting, clarifying, forgiving.  Deep historic wounds necessarily require moments where justice is done, where victims are given the opportunity to know the truth, where damage is adequately repaired and clear commitments are made to avoid repeating those crimes.  But that is only the beginning of the Christian response.  We are required to generate “from below” a change in culture: so that we respond to the culture of death and violence, with the culture of life and encounter. "

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