Monday, January 16, 2012

Pope Benedict XVI calls for educating young people in the true meaning of justice and peace

Vatican City, Jan 13, 2012 (CNA/EWTN News).

In a bid to end violence against Christians and other religions, Pope Benedict XVI used a Jan. 13 speech to Italian police to call for educating young people in the true meaning of justice and peace.

“Even the past year, unfortunately, was marked by violence and intolerance,” he said in the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace on Jan 13.

Frequently, in different parts of the world, the object of reprisals and attacks were Christians, who paid with their lives for their adherence to Christ and to the Church.”

The Pope made his comments to a gathering of those Italian state police who are charged with patrolling and protecting St. Peter’s Square and the Vatican.

The Pope said that while young people often hear the words “justice” and “peace” being mentioned, not enough is done to explain what the terms really mean.

“Justice,” he explained, “is not a mere human convention.” If it is viewed as such, he added, it can end up being dominated and subverted by the “criteria of utility, profit and material possession.” Pope Benedict said that when justice is corrupted in this way, the value and dignity of people can be “trampled underfoot.”

In reality, justice is a virtue that guides the human will “prompting us to give others what is due to them by reason of their existence and their actions,” he said.

Similarly, “peace” is not merely defined as the “absence of war, or the result of man’s actions to avoid conflict.”

Instead, it is primarily “a gift of God which must be implored with faith, and which has the way to its fulfillment in Jesus.” Therefore, “true peace” must be “constructed day after day with compassion, solidarity, fraternity and collaboration on everyone’s part,” the Pope said.

The Pope’s comments reflected his message earlier this month when he dedicated the Church’s 45th World Day of Peace on New Year’s Day to the education of the young in justice and peace.

He concluded his remarks today by holding up the police officers present as “true promoters of justice and sincere builders of peace,” and commending all present to Mary “the Mother of God, Queen of Peace.”

“To her we entrust this year of 2012, that everyone may live in mutual respect and strive after the common good, in the hope that no act of violence will be committed in the name of God, supreme guarantor of justice and peace.”


True peace must be constructed day after day with compassion, solidarity, fraternity and collaboration on everyone's part.  And of course, it must be remembered that there is no authentic peace without prayer and a genuine love for truth.  In the words of Pope John XXIII:  " long as we are journeying in exile over this earth, our peace and happiness will be imperfect. For such peace is not completely untroubled and serene; it is active, not calm and motionless. In short, this is a peace that is ever at war. It wars with every sort of error, including that which falsely wears the face of truth; it struggles against the enticements of vice, against those enemies of the soul, of whatever description, who can weaken, blemish, or destroy our innocence or Catholic faith." (Ad Petri Cathedram No. 93).

Pope Paul VI, in his Apostolic Exhortation Recurrens Mensis October (The recurrence of the month of October), 1969, said that, "Undoubtedly, peace is the concern of men and a good common to all. As such, it must be the constant care of everyone...Despite much good will, there are many interests in opposition; much selfishness is shown; many antagonisms increase; many rivalries conflict with one another. Who does not see, then, the unflagging action demanded from each and all in order that love may triumph over discord and that peace may be restored to the city of men?"

There is no peace without God. And no peace without prayer. Which is why there is no peace among men. Most men do not pray - even many of those who give lip service to prayer. Pope Paul VI continues, "..peace is also the concern of God. He has placed in our hearts the ardent desire for peace. He urges us to work toward it, each doing his share, and for that purpose He sustains our feeble energies and our vacillating wills. He alone can give us a peaceful soul, and confirm in depth and solidity our efforts for peace. Prayer, by which we ask for the gift of peace, is therefore an irreplaceable contribution to the establishment of peace. It is through Christ, in whom all grace is given us, that we dispose ourselves to welcome the gift of peace. And in that undertaking, how can we do otherwise than to depend lovingly upon the incomparable intercession of Mary, His Mother, of whom the Gospel tells us that she 'found favor with God'?"

A call to false irenicism is not the answer.  Sticking our heads in the sand of denial and pretending "all is well" is not the answer.  Selfishness and self-will, obstacles to authentic peace [and justice], are overcome only through constant prayer. As Pope Benedict XVI explained back in 2009: "Conflict and lack of reconciliation in the world stem from the fact that we are locked into our own interests and opinions, into our own little private world. Selfishness, both individual and collective, makes us prisoners of our interests and our desires that stand against the truth and separate us from one another. Awake, the Gospel tells us. Step outside, so as to enter the great communal truth, the communion of the one God. To awake, then, means to develop a receptivity for God: for the silent promptings with which he chooses to guide us; for the many indications of his presence..." (Christmas homily 2009).

Our youth must be educated in the truth that the Church is a communion of persons with the Living God, brought about by the Lord Jesus in the Holy Spirit. And, as Pope John Paul II teaches in Christifideles Laici, No. 64, " awareness of a commonly shared Christian dignity, an ecclesial consciousness brings a sense of belonging to the mystery of the Church as Communion. This is a basic and undeniable aspect of the life and mission of the Church. For one and all, the earnest prayer of Jesus at the Last Supper, 'That all may be one' (Jn 17: 21), ought to become daily a required and undeniable program of life and action." When we understand what is meant by the Church's communion, the words of Pope Benedict XVI make perfect sense: "..In order to remain in unity with the crucified and risen Lord, the practical sign of juridical unity, 'remaining in the teaching of the apostles' is indispensable." (Pilgrim Fellowship of Faith: The Church as Communion, p. 69, Ignatius Press).

Sadly, not all Catholics understand this.  For some, the "unity of charity" has come to mean little more than a false irenicism. Which is why they castigate those who defend the truth.  But as Dr. Dietrich von Hildebrand explains, "False irenicism is motivated by a misconceived charity at the service of a meaningless unity. It places unity above truth. Having severed the essential link between charity and defense of the truth, irenicism is more concerned with reaching a unity with all men than with leading them to Christ and His eternal truth. It ignores the fact that real unity can be reached only in truth. Our Lord’s prayer ‘that they may be one’ implies being one in Him and must not be separated from His words in John: ‘And other sheep I have that are not of this fold. Them also I must bring and they shall hear my voice. And there shall be one fold and one shepherd.’"


Stewart said...

Our youth do not need to be indoctrinated into a false "unity" which claims to be built on charity but which places truth in a position of little or no importance. Unity must be based upon truth. The Rodney King approach to peace just doesn't work.

Jonathan said...

If CFP columnist Stacy Trasancos doesn't believe that Catholics have the right to challenge "all the way to the Pope," meaning the Church's Magisterium, why is she so quick to denounce Catholic bloggers/writers who are publically critical of the erroneous ideas of dissenting priests and bishops?

I've often encountered this nonsense myself. A dissenting priest writes an article laced with dissent, faithful Catholics in turn write letters to the editor or an op-ed piece critical of the dissent being proposed, and then the faithful laity who are defending the Church's teaching are the ones accused of harming the Church's unity.

It is like a sick joke. Whose side is Trasancos on? Christ and His Church or dissenting priests and bishops? If it is the Church, then why attack faithful Cahtolics who are merely defending the Magisterial teaching?

And there is only silence from Trasancos and her supporters.

ACatholicinClinton said...

Jonathan, in this week's Catholic Free Press, Trasancos writes, "The most important aspect of a convincing argument is trust. If someone doesn't trust you, then you will fail to persuade them."

Well, I no longer trust Stacy Trasancos. It is my firm belief that she doesn't have a firm grasp of the fundamentals of the faith and that she is not really committed to that purity of doctrine which the faithful have a right to (Veritatis Splendor, 113).

As you note, she is all too ready to attack orthodox Catholics who work to expose dissident Catholics. For that reason alone, I cannot trust her.

Daniel said...

Our beloved Holy Father is a courageous leader and is a shining example of holiness for our young people....Viva Il Papa!

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