Friday, October 10, 2014

Instruments of Peace

A professor emeritus, the head of a research center reflects on the place of peace in society. In the history of humanity we have always had  wars, and even today to gain peace, we prepare or engage in war. Consequently, we have  scholars who say that war is a necessary evil. As long as greed is a part of the human make-up, the professor  reminds us, we will have wars. The Greek thinkers tolerated wars to achieve peace.

Two world wars enabled the world to develop many new weapons that have been used to threaten other countries from starting wars. It's time to stop seeing peace as related to war, but to go in search of peace for its own sake. A German nuclear scientist  and philosopher said: "With the scientific knowledge we have peace is the condition for life."

After the  Second World War, the biggest war has been on the Korean peninsular, and the war is still not over. During the visit of Pope Francis he appealed for "the emergence of new opportunities for dialogue, encounter and the resolution of differences."

Peace is not only a political-diplomatic and military problem, but of our human make-up. Peace requires justice and self restraint. Without restraint we will continue to have wars.   

Absence of violence and war, coexistence, living together, was considered external peace; control of our greed and the peace achieved was the internal peace. External peace does not  bring internal peace, but internal peace can bring external peace.   

Without a culture to control our human greed, peace will remain a distant mirage. Unless we restrain our desire for human power and develop a capacity for temperance and humility: born again, with a  new humanity, worldview, and religious understanding, we will not have peace.

At the Mass for Peace and Reconciliation at Myeong-dong Cathedral in Seoul Korea, Pope Francis said:
"At this Mass, we naturally hear this promise in the context of the historical experience of the Korean people, an experience of division and conflict which has lasted for well over sixty years. But God's urgent summons to conversion also challenges Christ's followers in Korea to examine the quality of their own contribution to the building of a truly just and humane society...  And it challenges you, as Christians and Koreans, firmly to reject a mindset shaped by suspicion, confrontation and competition, and instead to shape a culture formed by the teaching of the Gospel and the noblest traditional values of the Korean people." 

The article ends with words from a talk given by the pope at the Blue House to the Korean public officials: their efforts to find peace is something the whole world is looking forward to see, and will influence the stability of the whole world, tired of wars. 

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