informations: Churches and peace.
a.) Leaders of different Churches around the world. b.) The Pope John Paul II.
c.) A prayer for protection and peace of Mother Teresa.
Church leaders united against war in Iraq -.
declaration concerning a pending war against Iraq was agreed upon by church
leaders of Europe, the USA and the Middle East on Feb. 5, 2003 at an urgent meeting in
1. As European church leaders, in consultation with councils of churches in
the USA and the Middle East, we remain extremely concerned with the continued
calls for military action against Iraq by the US and some European governments.
As people of faith, our love of neighbour compels us to oppose war and to seek
peaceful resolution of conflicts. As churches we pray for peace and freedom,
justice and safety for the people of Iraq and in the Middle East as a whole.
Such prayer obliges us to be instruments of peace.
3. We cannot accept the stated objectives of a war against Iraq, as laid
out by these governments, in particular the US. Pre-emptive military strike and
war as a means to change the regime of a sovereign state are immoral and
in violation of the UN Charter. We appeal to the Security Council to uphold the
principles of the UN Charter which strictly limit the legitimate use of
military force and to refrain from creating negative precedence and lowering the
threshold for using violent means to solve international conflicts.
5. All UN member states have to comply with binding UN resolutions and
resolve conflicts by peaceful means. Iraq can be no exception. We call on the
Government of Iraq to destroy any weapons of mass destruction and related
research and production facilities. Iraq must cooperate fully with UN weapons
inspectors, and guarantee full respect of the civil and political, economic,
social and cultural human rights for all its citizens. The people in Iraq
must be given hope that there are alternatives to both dictatorship and war.
8. All governments, in particular the members of the Security Council have
the responsibility to consider the whole complexity of this issue. All peaceful
and diplomatic means to compel Iraq to comply with UN Security Council
resolutions have not been exhausted.
9. For us it is a spiritual obligation, grounded in God’s love for all
humanity, to speak out against war in Iraq. Through this message we send a
strong sign of solidarity and support, to churches in Iraq, the Middle East and
in the USA. We pray that God will guide those responsible to take decisions
based on careful reflections, moral principles and high legal standards. We
invite all churches to join us in this act of witness and to pray for and
encourage participation of all people in the struggle for a peaceful resolution
of this conflict.
(quoted: public declaration, svenskakirkan.sv, ekd.de, ...)
of Pope John Paul II to the Diplomatic Corps, 13
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
This meeting at the beginning of the New Year is a happy tradition which affords
me the joy of welcoming you and in some way of embracing all the peoples whom
you represent! For it is through you and thanks to you that I come to know their
hopes and aspirations, their successes and their setbacks. Today I wish to offer
your countries my fervent good wishes of happiness, peace and prosperity.
the threshold of the New Year I am also pleased to offer all of you my best
wishes, as I invoke upon you, your families and your fellow citizens an
abundance of divine blessings.
sharing with you some reflections inspired by the present situation in the world
and in the Church, I must thank your Dean, Ambassador Giovanni Galassi, for his
kind words and for the good wishes which he has thoughtfully expressed, in the
name of all present, for my person and for my ministry. Please accept my deep
Ambassador, you have also pointed to the legitimate expectations of modern men
and women, all too often frustrated by political crises, by armed violence, by
social conflicts, by poverty or by natural catastrophes. Never as at the
beginning of this millennium has humanity felt how precarious is the world which
it has shaped.
I have been personally struck by the feeling of fear which often dwells in
the hearts of our contemporaries. An insidious terrorism capable of striking
at any time and anywhere; the unresolved problem of the Middle East, with the
Holy Land and Iraq; the turmoil disrupting South America, particularly
Argentina, Colombia and Venzuela; the conflicts preventing numerous African
countries from focusing on their development; the diseases spreading contagion
and death; the grave problem of famine, especially in Africa; the irresponsible
behaviour contributing to the depletion of the planet’s resources: all these
are so many plagues threatening the suvival of humanity, the peace of
individuals and the security of societies.
Yet everything can change. It depends on each of us. Everyone can develop
within himself his potential for faith, for honesty, for respect of others and
for commitment to the service of others.
also depends, quite obviously, on political leaders, who are called to serve the
common good. You will not be surprised if before an assembly of diplomats I
state in this regard certain requirements which I believe must be met if
entire peoples, perhaps even humanity itself, are not to sink into the abyss.
a "YES TO LIFE"! Respect life itself and
individual lives: everything starts here, for the most fundamental of human
rights is certainly the right to life. Abortion, euthanasia, human cloning, for
example, risk reducing the human person to a mere object: life and death to
order, as it were! When all moral criteria are removed, scientific research
involving the sources of life becomes a denial of the being and the dignity of
the person. War itself is an attack on human life since it brings in its wake
suffering and death. The battle for peace is always a battle for life!
RESPECT FOR LAW. Life within society –
particularly international life – presupposes common and inviolable principles
whose goal is to guarantee the security and the freedom of individual citizens
and of nations. These rules of conduct are the foundation of national and
international stability. Today political leaders have at hand highly relevant
texts and institutions. It is enough simply to put them into practice. The world
would be totally different if people began to apply in a straightforward manner
the agreements already signed!
the DUTY OF SOLIDARITY. In a world with a
superabundance of information, but which paradoxically finds it so difficult to
communicate and where living conditions are scandalously unequal, it is
important to spare no effort to ensure that everyone feels responsible for the
growth and happiness of all. Our future is at stake. An unemployed young person,
a handicapped person who is marginalized, elderly people who are uncared for,
countries which are captives of hunger and poverty: these situations all too
often make people despair and fall prey to the temptation either of closing in
on themselves or of resorting to violence.
This is why choices need to be made so that humanity can still have a future.
Therefore, the peoples of the earth and their leaders must sometimes have the
courage to say "No".
TO DEATH"! That is to say, no to all that
attacks the incomparable dignity of every human being, beginning with that of
unborn children. If life is truly a treasure, we need to be able to preserve it
and to make it bear fruit without distorting it. "No" to all that
weakens the family, the basic cell of society. "No" to all that
destroys in children the sense of striving, their respect for themselves and
others, the sense of service.
TO SELFISHNESS"! In other words, to all that
impels man to protect himself inside the cocoon of a privileged social class or
a cultural comfort which excludes others. The life-style of the prosperous,
their patterns of consumption, must be reviewed in the light of their
repercussions on other countries. Let us mention for example the problem of
water resources, which the United Nations Organization has asked us all to
consider during this year 2003. Selfishness is also the indifference of
prosperous nations towards nations left out in the cold. All peoples are
entitled to receive a fair share of the goods of this world and of the know-how
of the more advanced countries. How can we fail to think here, for example, of
the access of everyone to generic medicines, needed to continue the fight
against current pandemics, an access — alas — often thwarted by short-term
TO WAR"! War is not always inevitable. It is
always a defeat for humanity. International law, honest dialogue, solidarity
between States, the noble exercise of diplomacy: these are methods worthy of
individuals and nations in resolving their differences. I say this as I think of
those who still place their trust in nuclear weapons and of the all-too-numerous
conflicts which continue to hold hostage our brothers and sisters in humanity.
At Christmas, Bethlehem reminded us of the unresolved crisis in the Middle East,
where two peoples, Israeli and Palestinian, are called to live side-by-side,
equally free and sovereign, in mutual respect. Without needing to repeat what I
said to you last year on this occasion, I will simply add today, faced with the
constant degeneration of the crisis in the Middle East, that the solution will
never be imposed by recourse to terrorism or armed conflict, as if military
victories could be the solution. And what are we to say of the threat of a war
which could strike the people of Iraq, the land of the Prophets, a people
already sorely tried by more than twelve years of embargo? War is never just
another means that one can choose to employ for settling differences between
nations. As the Charter of the United Nations Organization and international law
itself remind us, war cannot be decided upon, even when it is a matter of
ensuring the common good, except as the very last option and in accordance with
very strict conditions, without ignoring the consequences for the civilian
population both during and after the military operations.
It is therefore possible to change the course of events, once good will,
trust in others, fidelity to commitments and cooperation between responsible
partners are allowed to prevail. I shall give two examples.
Europe, which is at once united and enlarged.
Europe has succeeded in tearing down the walls which disfigured her. She has
committed herself to planning and creating a new reality capable of combining
unity and diversity, national sovereignty and joint activity, economic progress
and social justice. This new Europe is the bearer of the values which have borne
fruit for two thousand years in an "art" of thinking and living from
which the whole world has benefitted. Among these values Christianity holds a
privileged position, inasmuch as it gave birth to a humanism which has permeated
Europe’s history and institutions. In recalling this patrimony, the Holy See
and all the Christian Churches have urged those drawing up the future
Constitutional Treaty of the European Union to include a reference to Churches
and religious institutions. We believe it desirable that, in full respect of the
secular state, three complementary elements should be recognized: religious
freedom not only in its individual and ritual aspects, but also in its social
and corporative dimensions; the appropriateness of structures for dialogue and
consultation between the Governing Bodies and communities of believers; respect
for the juridical status already enjoyed by Churches and religious institutions
in the Member States of the Union. A Europe which disavowed its past, which
denied the fact of religion, and which had no spiritual dimension would be
extremely impoverished in the face of the ambitious project which calls upon all
its energies: constructing a Europe for all!
too gives us today an occasion to rejoice: Angola has begun its rebuilding;
Burundi has taken the path which could lead to peace and expects from the
international community understanding and financial aid; the Democratic Republic
of Congo is seriously engaged in a national dialogue which should lead to
democracy. The Sudan has likewise shown good will, even if the path to peace
remains long and arduous. We should of course be grateful for these signs of
progress and we should encourage political leaders to spare no effort in
ensuring that, little by little, the peoples of Africa experience the beginnings
of pacification and thus of prosperity, safe from ethnic struggles, caprice and
corruption. For this reason we can only deplore the grave incidents which have
rocked Côte-d’Ivoire and the Central African Republic, while inviting the
people of those countries to lay down their arms, to respect their respective
constitutions and to lay the foundations for national dialogue. It will then be
easy to involve all the elements of the national community in planning a society
in which everyone finds a place. Furthermore, we do well to note that Africans
are increasingly trying to find the solutions best suited to their problems,
thanks to the activity of the African Union and effective forms of regional
Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, it is vital to note that the
independence of States can no longer be understood apart from the concept of
interdependence. All States are interconnected both for better and for
worse. For this reason, and rightly so, we must be able to distinguish good from
evil and call them by their proper names. As history has taught us time and time
again, it is when doubt or confusion about what is right and wrong prevails that
the greatest evils are to be feared.
we are to avoid descending into chaos, it seems to me that two conditions must
be met. First, we must rediscover within States and between States the
paramount value of the natural law, which was the source of inspiration for
the rights of nations and for the first formulations of international law. Even
if today some people question its validity, I am convinced that its general and
universal principles can still help us to understand more clearly the unity of
the human race and to foster the development of the consciences both of those
who govern and of those who are governed. Second, we need the persevering
work of Statesmen who are honest and selfless. In effect, the indispensable
professional competence of political leaders can find no legitimation unless it
is connected to strong moral convictions. How can one claim to deal with world
affairs without reference to this set of principles which is the basis of the
"universal common good" spoken of so eloquently by Pope John XXIII in
his Encyclical Pacem
in Terris? It will always be possible for a leader who acts in
accordance with his convictions to reject situations of injustice or of
institutional corruption, or to put an end to them. It is precisely in this, I
believe, that we rediscover what is today commonly called "good
governance". The material and spiritual well-being of humanity, the
protection of the freedom and rights of the human person, selfless public
service, closeness to concrete conditions: all of these take precedence over
every political project and constitute a moral necessity which in itself is the
best guarantee of peace within nations and peace between States.
It is clear that, for a believer, these motivations are enriched by faith
in a God who is the Creator and Father of all, who has entrusted man with
stewardship of the earth and with the duty of brotherly love. This shows how it
is in a State’s own interest to ensure that religious freedom — which is a
natural right, that is, at one and the same time both an individual and social
right — is effectively guaranteed for all. As I have had occasion to remark in
the past, believers who feel that their faith is respected and whose communities
enjoy juridical recognition will work with ever greater conviction in the common
project of building up the civil society to which they belong. You will
understand then why I speak out on behalf of all Christians who, from Asia to
Europe, continue to be victims of violence and intolerance, such as happened
recently during the celebration of Christmas. Ecumenical dialogue between
Christians and respectful contact with other religions, in particular with
Islam, are the best remedy for sectarian rifts, fanaticism or religious
terrorism. As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, I will mention but one
situation which is a cause of great suffering for me: the plight of Catholic
communities in the Russian Federation, which for months now have seen some of
their Pastors prevented from returning to them for administrative reasons. The
Holy See expects from the Government authorities concrete decisions which will
put an end to this crisis, and which are in keeping with the international
agreements subscribed to by the modern and democratic Russia. Russian Catholics
wish to live as their brethren do in the rest of the world, enjoying the same
freedom and the same dignity.
Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, may all of us who have gathered in this
place, which is a symbol of spirituality, dialogue and peace, contribute by our
daily actions to the advancement of all the peoples of the earth, in justice and
harmony, to their progress towards conditions of greater happiness and greater
justice, far from poverty, violence and threats of war! May God pour out his
abundant blessings upon you and all those whom you represent. A Happy New Year
declaration, Vaticano, Roma, Italia / www.vatican.va ...)
The will of God
cannot automatically be found in the arbitrary human will of "elites" in
societies; not in "Christian societies" and not in other ones. A
measure is the New Testament.
The apocalypse is God's look-out, not man's.
prayer for protection and peace, which Mother Teresa saw in a vision.:
Lead me from
death to life,
from lies to truth.
Lead me from despair to hope,
from fear to trust.
Lead me from hate to love,
from war to peace.
Let peace fill our hearts,
our world and our universe !
peace, peace, peace !