The Archbishop Emeritus of Managua, Cardinal Miguel Obando y Bravo, said this week peace is something that can only be achieved with a new order “that entails more perfect justice between men,” because peace cannot be built upon the frustration of millions of people who cannot obtain “a standard of living that is compatible with human dignity.”
The cardinal made his comments during a forum commemorating the 20th anniversary of the signing of the peace accords that put an end to Central America’s civil strife during the 1980s.
During his remarks, Cardinal Obando reflected upon the meaning of peace and cited various papal documents, such as the encyclical Summi Pontificatus by Pius XII, whose pontifical motto was “Peace is the Work of Justice.”
In noting that because of sin, peace is difficult to obtain, Cardinal Obando emphasized that “social peace” can only come about from a relationship “based on justice, loyalty and love,” thus constituting “an order which results in authentic peace.”
In the past, the cardinal continued, the political and cultural classes lived in apparent peace because they said, or they tried to convince themselves, that the misery of the masses was a preordained part of a universal and unchangeable order. Currently, humanity is learning that as long as hunger and misery exist, a radical disorder will persist, which is the fruit of selfishness of individuals and nations, and thus it is impossible to obtain lasting peace,” he warned.
Therefore, he said, “the integral development of persons” should be at the heart of all initiatives. To deny a society the means of progress “can only lead to insecurity and social unrest, and foster hatred, division and destroy all hope of peace.”
Human rights, the cardinal went on, are not only violated by terrorism, repression or killing, but also by extreme poverty and social injustice. In this sense, he called for greater solidarity among “the different members of the human family.” Solidarity, he said, is a duty, and where there is solidarity, “there is reconciliation as well.
Cardinal Obando said the accords of 1987 should be seen as “a treasure of enthusiasm” that should lead to the “transformation of the souls of each one of our nations.”