United Nations

Pope’s UN Rep. stresses need to convert hearts for peace

Arch. Silvano Tomasi
Arch. Silvano Tomasi

.- Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, Apostolic Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations at Geneva led an Inter-Religious Service for Peace on at the organization Tuesday evening.  The archbishop told those gathered that the struggle to bring peace in an evermore complex and violent world must begin at the heart of every individual.

Tomasi insisted to the various national representatives and faith leaders gathered, that despite differences in religious and cultural backgrounds, they can have confidence that peace is an achievable goal, “deeply rooted in the core-values and insights shared by all faith traditions that God our Creator has endowed each person with an inalienable dignity and thus given us equality of rights and duties and established and unbreakable solidarity among all women and men.”

Despite the daily work of UN members towards a better world, the archbishop recalled, “we are not naïve. The phenomenon of violence has become increasingly complex in the 21st century and it poses unprecedented challenges to the international community.”

“The work for peace,” he said, “implies now closing the gap between the rich and the poor; putting an end to civil wars, to terrorism, and all armed conflicts; stopping a revived arms race and the proliferation of a variety of weapons; rejecting the glorification of violence in the media.”

“It is a difficult moment but we know ‘there is a moral logic which is built into human life and which makes possible dialogue between individuals and peoples.’

“The search for peace,” he emphasized, “begins in the heart of every individual and moves forward to countries and to the international community, an orderly process founded on the respect of the person, the right to life and religious freedom, the free exercise of basic human rights, the elimination of unjust inequalities.”

True peace goes beyond mere tolerance to a culture of respect and justice, the archbishop added.   Tolerance is “a kind of passive acceptance of others imposed by law, a first step for sure but without personal involvement.”

Instead, there must be a culture of respect, he said, one which “looks at others as partners in the same humanity, children of the same creator, with the same aspirations for a happy and peaceful life, even though the way may be different.”

And, Tomasi added, “the process that goes from tolerance to respect and justice reaches its perfection when it discovers ‘that the highest vocation of every person is love.’ In this realization, ‘we can find the ultimate reason for becoming staunch champions of human dignity and courageous builders of peace.’”

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