Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Peace passes through the recognition and respect for the truth inscribed by God in the heart of every person and thus is a "precondition" for peace is the " dismantling of the dictatorship of relativism and of the supposition of a completely autonomous morality " and, finally, demands to "propose and promote a pedagogy of peace", which aims to "build a coexistence based on truth, freedom, love and justice," because "peace presupposes a humanism open to transcendence".
This, in a nutshell, is the message of Benedict XVI for the World Day of Peace 2013, released today with a title taken from the Gospel, "Blessed are the peacemakers." Given that "concerns the human person as a whole, and it involves complete commitment. It is peace with God through a life lived according to his will. It is interior peace with oneself, and exterior peace with our neighbours and all creation".
Our times, says the Pope, are marked "by globalization with its positive and negative aspects, as well as the continuation of violent conflicts and threats of war." "Alarming hotbeds of tension and conflict caused by growing instances of inequality between rich and poor, by the prevalence of a selfish and individualistic mindset which also finds expression in an unregulated financial capitalism. In addition to the varied forms of terrorism and international crime, peace is also endangered by those forms of fundamentalism and fanaticism which distort the true nature of religion, which is called to foster fellowship and reconciliation among people".
"All the same, the many different efforts at peacemaking which abound in our world testify to mankind's innate vocation to peace".
This "vocation" is based on the truths of natural law. The first point is therefore the "recognition that, in God, one human family. This family is structured, as the Encyclical Pacem in Terris taught, by interpersonal relations and institutions supported and animated by a communitarian
"we", which entails an internal and external moral order in which, in accordance with truth and justice, reciprocal rights and mutual duties are sincerely recognized".
It is the search for the "common good". The "path" toward its attainment passes "above all" through respect for human life, "all its many aspects, beginning with its conception, through its development and up to its natural end." Next to no to abortion and euthanasia, "false or arbitrary claims ", "based on a reductionist and relativist view of the human being", is the defence and promotion of the family "against attempts to make it "juridically equivalent to radically different types of union".
"One of the fundamental human rights, also with reference to international peace, is the right of individuals and communities to religious freedom. At this stage in history, it is becoming increasingly important to promote this right not only from the negative point of view, as freedom from - for example, obligations or limitations involving the freedom to choose one's religion - but also from the positive point of view, in its various expressions, as freedom for - for example, bearing witness to one's religion, making its teachings known, engaging in activities in the educational, benevolent and charitable fields which permit the practice of religious precepts, and
existing and acting as social bodies structured in accordance with the proper doctrinal principles and
institutional ends of each. Sadly, even in countries of long-standing Christian tradition, instances of religious intolerance are becoming more numerous, especially in relation to Christianity and those who simply wear identifying signs of their religion".
But the promotion of peace also involves the social rights and duties. "One of the social rights and duties most under threat today is the right to work. The reason for this is that labour and the rightful recognition of workers' juridical status are increasingly undervalued, since economic development is thought to depend principally on completely free markets. Labour is thus regarded as a variable dependent on economic and financial mechanisms".
"The dignity of man" and also "economic, social and political reasoning", instead require that that we continue "to prioritize the goal of access to steady employment for everyone". This demands a fresh outlook on work, based on ethical principles and spiritual values that reinforce the notion of work as a fundamental good for the individual, for the family and for society". Therefore we need "courageous and new labor policies for all" and "a new model of development", to replace the one that prevailed in recent decades and " called for seeking maximum profit and consumption,
on the basis of an individualistic and selfish mindset, aimed at considering individuals solely
in terms of their ability to meet the demands of competitiveness. Yet, from another standpoint, true
and lasting success is attained through the gift of ourselves, our intellectual abilities and our entrepreneurial skills, since a "liveable" or truly human economic development requires the principle of gratuitousness as an expression of fraternity and the logic of gift".
We must, in conclusion, "renounce that false peace promised by the idols of this world along with the dangers which accompany it, that false peace which dulls consciences, which leads to self-absorption, to a withered existence lived in indifference. The pedagogy of peace, on the other hand, implies activity, compassion, solidarity, courage and perseverance".
"Jesus embodied all these attitudes in his own life, even to the complete gift of himself, even to "losing his life" (cf. Mt 10:39; Lk 17:33; Jn 12:25). He promises his disciples that sooner or later they will make the extraordinary discovery to which I originally alluded, namely that God is in the world, the God of Jesus, fully on the side of man". (FP)
For the full text of the Message click here.