No. 908 Diocese of Marbel, Philippines 21 December 2016
January 1st is the 50th WDP. Blessed Pope Paul VI initiated it on 1 January 1968.
Pope Francis wrote on 8 December 2016 this message for the 50th WDP. Selected passages below.
Title “Nonviolence: A Style of Politics for Peace”
- “This is the fiftieth message for the World Day of Peace. In the first, Blessed Pope Paul VI addressed all peoples. ‘Peace is the only true direction of human progress…’ a peace founded upon truth, justice, freedom and love.’”
“On this occasion, I would like to reflect on nonviolence as a style of politics for peace.”
A broken world.
- “…today…we find ourselves engaged in a horrifying world war fought piecemeal.
“…’piecemeal’ violence, of different kinds and level, causes great sufferings: wars, terrorism…devastation of the environment.”
“Violence is not the cure for our broken world.”
The Good News
- “Jesus himself lived in violent times. Yet he taught that the true battlefield, where violence and peace meet, is the human heart: ‘for it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come’ (Mk. 7: 21).” But Christ’s message in this regard offers a radically positive approach. He unfailingly preached God’s unconditional love, which welcomes and forgives. He taught his disciples to love their enemies (cf. Mt. 5: 44) …Whoever accepts the Good News of Jesus is able to acknowledge the violence3 within and be healed by God’s mercy, becoming in turn an internment of reconciliation.”
Quoting Benedict XVI Pope Francis writes “For Christmas, nonviolence is not merely tactical behavior but a person’s way of being, the attitude of one who is so convinced of God’s love and power that he or she is not afraid to tackle evil with the weapons of love and truth alone. Love of one’s enemies constitutes the nucleus of the ‘Christian revolution’ (Benedict XVI, “Angelus”, 18 February 2007). ‘The Gospel command to love your enemies (cf. Lk. 6: 27) ‘is rightly considered the magna carta of Christian nonviolence. It does not consist in succumbing to evil… but in responding to evil with good (cf. Rom. 12: 17-21), and thereby breaking the chain of injustice’ (ibid.).”
More powerful than violence
- Love is more powerful than violence. Popeo Francis quotes Mother Teresa: “We in our family don’t need bombs and guns, to destroy to bring peace – just get together, love one another…and we will be able to overcoe all the evil that is in the world’” (Nobel Lecture., 11 December 1979).
“The decisive and constant practice of nonviolence has produced impressive results.” Pope Francis cited Mahatma Gandhi and Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan in the liberation of India; LeymahGbowee and thousands of Liberian women who organized pray-ins that resulted in high-level peace talk to and the second civil war in Liberia.
Pope Francis now mentions the fall of the communist regimes in Europe through “instant prayer” and “courageous action” of the Christian Communities. “Particularly influential were the ministry and teaching of Saint John Paul II”…that momentous change in the lives of people, nations and states had come about ‘by means of peaceful protest, using only the weapons of truth and justice’ (Pope St. John Paul II, CentesimusAnnus, 23).
The domestic roots of a politics on nonviolence
- “If violence has its source in the human heart, then it is fundamental that nonviolence be practiced before all else within families… The family is the indispensable crucible in which spouses, parents and children, brothers and sisters, learn to communicate and to show generous concern for one another, and in which frictions and even conflicts have to be resolves not by force but by dialogue, respect, concern for the good of the other, mercy and forgiveness” (cf. Francis, “AmorisLatitia’”, nn. 90-130).
“An ethics of fraternity and peaceful co-existence between individuals and among peoples cannot be based on the logic of fear, violence and close mindedness, but on responsibility, respect and sincere dialogue.”
“The politics of nonviolence have to begin in the home and then spread to the human family… An integral ecology is also make up of simple daily gestures that break with the logic of violence, exploitation and selfishness” (“Laudato Si’”, 230).
- “Peacebuilding through active nonviolence is the natural and necessary complement to the Church’s continuing efforts to limit the use of force by the application of moral norms; she does so by her participation in the work of international institutions and through the competence contribution by so many Christians to the drafting of legislation at all levels. Jesus himself offers a ‘manual’ for this strategy of peacemaking in the Sermon on the Mount. The eight beatitudes (cf. Mt. 5: 3-10) provide a portrait of the person we could describe as blessed, good and authentic.”
“This is also a programme and a challenge to religious leaders, the heads of international institutions and business and media executives: to apply the Beatitudes in the exercise of their respective responsibilities… To act on this way means to choose solidarity as a way of making history and building friendships in society.” Active nonviolence is a way of showing that unity is truly more powerful and more fruitful than conflict. Everything in the world is inter-connected (Francis, “Laudato Si’”, 16, 17, 1378).
“On 1 January 2017, the New Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development will begin its work.”
- Let us pray for guidance from Mary, the Queen of Peace.