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THE CHURCH WE WANT

MESSAGE OF THE HOLY FATHER 
FRANCIS
FOR THE CELEBRATION OF THE 
WORLD DAY OF PEACE

JANUARY 2019

Good politics is at the service of peace

 1. "Peace to this house!"

Sending his disciples on a mission, Jesus tells them: "In whatever house you enter, first say," Peace to this house! " If there be a son of peace, your peace will come upon him, otherwise he will return to you "( Lk 10 : 5-6).

Offering peace is at the heart of the mission of the disciples of Christ. And this offer is addressed to all those men and women who hope for peace amid the tragedies and violence of human history. [1] The "house" mentioned by Jesus is every family, every community, every country, every continent, in their singularity and in their history; it is first of all every person, without distinction or discrimination. It is also our "common home": the planet in which God has placed us to live and of which we are called to take care of ourselves with care.

So let this be my wish at the beginning of the new year: "Peace to this house!".

2. The challenge of good politics

Peace is similar to the hope of which the poet Charles Péguy speaks; [2] it is like a fragile flower that tries to bloom amidst the stones of violence. We know: the search for power at any cost leads to abuse and injustice. Politics is a fundamental vehicle for building citizenship and human works, but when, by those who exercise it, it is not lived as a service to the human community, it can become an instrument of oppression, marginalization and even destruction.

"If one wants to be the first - says Jesus - be the last of all and the servant of all" ( Mk 9:35). As Pope St. Paul VI pointed out : "Taking politics in its different levels - local, regional, national and global - seriously means affirming the duty of man, of every man, to recognize the concrete reality and the value of freedom of choice that he is offered to try to realize together the good of the city, of the nation, of humanity ". [3]

In effect, function and political responsibility constitute a permanent challenge for all those who receive the mandate to serve their country, to protect those who live there and to work to put the conditions for a worthy and just future. If implemented in the fundamental respect of life, freedom and dignity of people, politics can truly become an eminent form of charity.

3. Charity and human virtues for a policy at the service of human rights and peace

Pope Benedict XVI recalled that "every Christian is called to this charity, in the way of his vocation and according to his chances of incidence in the polis . [...] When charity animates it, the commitment to the common good has a superior value to that of a merely secular and political commitment. [...] The action of man on earth, when it is inspired and sustained by charity, contributes to the building up of that universal city of God towards which the history of the human family advances ». [4] It is a program in which all politicians can be found, of any cultural or religious belonging who, together, wish to work for the good of the human family, practicing those human virtues that are subject to good political action: justice, equity, mutual respect, sincerity, honesty, loyalty.

In this regard, the "beatitudes of the politician", proposed by the Vietnamese Cardinal François-Xavier Nguyễn Vãn Thuận, who died in 2002, who was a faithful witness to the Gospel, deserve to be remembered:

Blessed is the politician who has a high awareness and a deep awareness of his role.

Blessed is the politician whose person reflects credibility.

Blessed is the politician who works for the common good and not for his own interest.

Blessed is the politician who remains faithfully coherent.

Blessed is the politician who realizes unity.

Blessed is the politician who is engaged in the realization of a radical change.

Blessed is the politician who knows how to listen.

Blessed is the politician who is not afraid. [5]

Every renewal of elective functions, every electoral deadline, every stage of public life is an opportunity to return to the source and the references that inspire justice and law. We are sure of this: good politics is at the service of peace; it respects and promotes fundamental human rights, which are equally reciprocal duties, so that a bond of trust and gratitude is bonded between present and future generations.

4. The vices of politics

Alongside the virtues, unfortunately, even in politics there is no shortage of vices, due both to personal ineptitude and to distortions in the environment and in institutions. It is clear to everyone that the vices of political life take away credibility from the systems within which it takes place, as well as the authoritativeness, decisions and actions of the people who dedicate themselves to it. These vices, which undermine the ideal of authentic democracy, are the shame of public life and endanger social peace: corruption - in its multiple forms of misappropriation of public goods or the exploitation of people -, the negation of law, non-compliance with Community rules, illegal enrichment, justification of power by force or with the arbitrary pretext of "raison d'état",

5. Good policy promotes the participation of young people and trust in the other

When the exercise of political power aims only to safeguard the interests of certain privileged individuals, the future is compromised and young people may be tempted by distrust, because they are condemned to remain on the margins of society, without the possibility of participating in a project for the future. . When, on the other hand, politics is translated, concretely, into the encouragement of young talents and vocations that ask to be realized, peace spreads in consciences and faces. It becomes a dynamic trust, which means "I trust you and I believe with you" in the possibility of working together for the common good. Politics is for peace if it is expressed, therefore, in the recognition of the charisms and abilities of each person. "What's more beautiful than a stretched hand? It was wanted by God to give and receive.Gen 4,1ss) or that makes you suffer, but that you care and help to live. Beside the heart and the intelligence, the hand can also become an instrument of dialogue ». [6]

Everyone can make their own stone to the construction of the common house. The authentic political life, which is based on law and on a loyal dialogue between the subjects, is renewed with the conviction that every woman, every man and every generation contains within itself a promise that can release new relational, intellectual, cultural and spiritual energies. . Such trust is never easy to live because human relationships are complex. In particular, we live in these times in a climate of mistrust that is rooted in the fear of the other or of the stranger, in the anxiety of losing its advantages, and unfortunately also manifested at the political level, through attitudes of closure or nationalism that question the fraternity that our globalized world so badly needs. Today more than ever,

6. No to war and the strategy of fear

One hundred years after the end of the First World War, while we remember the young fallen during those fights and the civilized populations, today more than yesterday we know the terrible teaching of the fratricidal wars, that peace can never be reduced to the balance of forces and of fear. Holding the other under threat means reducing it to the state of object and denying its dignity. It is the reason why we reaffirm that the escalationin terms of intimidation, just as the uncontrolled proliferation of weapons is contrary to morality and the search for true harmony. The terror of the most vulnerable people contributes to the exile of entire populations in the search for a land of peace. Political discourses that tend to accuse migrants of all ills and deprive the poor of hope are not sustainable. On the other hand, it should be stressed that peace is based on respect for every person, whatever his or her history, on respect for the law and the common good, for the creation that has been entrusted to us and for the moral wealth transmitted by past generations.

Furthermore, our thinking goes in particular to the children who live in the current conflict zones, and to all those who commit themselves so that their lives and rights are protected. In the world, one in six children is struck by the violence of the war or its consequences, when it is not enlisted to become a soldier or a hostage of armed groups. The testimony of those who work to defend the dignity and respect of children is extremely precious for the future of humanity.

7. A great peace project

In these days we celebrate the seventieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in the aftermath of the Second World War. In this regard, we note the observation of Pope St. John XXIII : "When human beings are aware of their rights, in that conscience there can not be a warning of their respective duties: in the subjects who hold them, of the duty to assert themselves. rights as a requirement and expression of their dignity; and in all other human beings, of the duty to recognize the same rights and to respect them ". [7]

Peace, in fact, is the result of a great political project based on mutual responsibility and interdependence of human beings. But it is also a challenge that asks to be welcomed day by day. Peace is a conversion of heart and soul, and it is easy to recognize three indissociable dimensions of this inner and communal peace:

- peace with oneself, rejecting intransigence, anger and impatience and, as St. Francis de Sales advised, exercising "a bit of sweetness towards oneself", to offer "a little sweetness to others" ;

- peace with each other: the family member, the friend, the stranger, the poor, the suffering ...; daring to meet and listening to the message he brings with him;

- peace with creation, rediscovering the greatness of God's gift and the part of responsibility that belongs to each of us, as the inhabitant of the world, citizen and actor of the future.

The politics of peace, which is well aware of human frailties and takes charge of it, can always draw from the spirit of the Magnificatthat Mary, Mother of Christ Savior and Queen of Peace, sings in the name of all men: "From generation to generation, his mercy for those who fear him. He explained the power of his arm, he dispersed the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has overthrown the powerful from the thrones, he has raised the humble; [...] remembering his mercy, as he had said to our fathers, for Abraham and his descendants, forever "( Lk 1,50-55).

From the Vatican, 8 December 2018

Francis


[1] Cf. Lk 2:14: "Glory to God in the highest heaven and peace on earth to the men whom he loves".

[2] See Le Porche du mystère de la deuxième vertu , Paris 1986.

[3] Lett. Ap. Octogesima adveniens (May 14, 1971), 46.

[4] Enc. Caritas in veritate (29 June 2009), 7.

[5] See Speech at the "Civitas" exhibition-convention in Padua: "30days", n. 5 of 2002.

[6] Benedict XVI , Address to the Benin Authorities , Cotonou , 19 November 2011.

[7] Enc. Pacem in terris (11 April 1963), 24.

 

BISHOP DEFENDS ACTIVISTS

The seven Catholic peacemakers who entered a naval base to symbolically dismantle nuclear weapons armed submarines acted from the primacy of conscience rooted in their faith, the bishop of Jackson, Mississippi, told a Georgia court November 7.

Testifying as an expert witness on behalf of the Kings Bay Plowshare activists, Bishop Joseph Kipacz said their actions were consistent with long-standing Catholic teaching about the sinfulness of nuclear weapons.

The defendants are seeking to have federal charges to conspiracy, trespassing and destruction and depredation of property dismissed under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. They have argued in court filings that their action is protected under the law.

April 4, the seven entered the Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, home to Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarines, and placed crime scene tape and spilled blood at different locales while posting an "indictment" charging the military with crimes against peace, citing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Kopacz cited the U.S. Catholic bishops' 1983 pastoral letter on peace and nuclear weapons, "The Challenge of Peace: God's Promise and Our Response."

BISHOPS' STATEMENT ON CLIMATE

The heads of six continental bishops’ conferences have signed a rare joint statement urging political leaders to solve climate change.

The bishops’ call is clear:

"We call for ambitious and immediate action to be taken in order to tackle and overcome the devastating effects of the climate crisis. These actions need to be taken by the international community at all levels: by persons, communities, cities, regions, nations."

The bishops’ statement is aimed at world leaders who are preparing for a UN climate summit in Poland this December.

We invite you to take three minutes today to share the statement with your pastor or another leader in your community. We’re all in this crisis together, and we’re all called to respond with the clarity and urgency the bishops have demonstrated.

  • The statement is here.
  • The bishops say that “there is no time to waste.” I invite you to set aside a few minutes today to share this statement with your pastor or another leader.

From the Global Catholic Climate Movement

SHOULD WOMEN BECOME PRIESTS?

Univision asked 12,038 Catholics in 12 countries if women should be allowed to join the priesthood. Here, a sample of how many responded positively:

83%--France
78%--Spain
59%--United States
35%--Mexico
21%--Philippines

_______________________________

--Pope Francis encouraged women attending a baptism ceremony in the Sistine Chapel to "breast-feed, without fear" inside the church. The Pontiff previously aired his support for public breast-feeding in 2013

--In a papal decree, Pope Francis established legal procedures to remove bishops who mishandle sex-abuse cases. Critics have long argued that bishops shuffle priests accused of abuse to different parishes rather than reporting them to the police.

--Pope Francis called on U.S. priests to devote more time to their parishioners' spiritual needs. But 20% of U.S. parishes no longer have a priest in residence. For each U.S. priest, there are 2,600 parishioners. (FiveThirtyEight.com)

--45% of U.S. Catholics attend Mass at least once a week. 19% attend monthly, and 35% say they attend less often or never. (The Washington Post/ABC News)