Pat Gaffney, General Secretary of Pax Christi explains the theme of peace.
Peacemaking is an integral part of Catholic Social Teaching, inviting people to be informed and act in conscience when demands are made of them that challenge the Gospel of peace.
This includes inter-personal relationships, relationships between communities and states – the active solidarity for the common good of the entire human family, that Pope John XXIII speaks of in Pacem in Terris – “Peace on Earth” paragraph 98. “So, we are called to identify the causes of violence, injustice and warfare and challenge the systems and structures that sustain and maintain them. From violence in the community to the deathly trade in arms and the continued production and threatened use of nuclear weapons, all are invited to build peace in a broken world.”
“Peace is not merely the absence of war. Nor can it be reduced solely to the maintenance of a balance of power between enemies. Nor is it brought about by dictatorship. Instead, it is rightly and appropriately called “an enterprise of justice” (Is. 32:7).
“Peace results from that harmony built into human society by its divine founder, and actualized by men as they thirst after ever greater justice”. Gaudium et Spes– “The Joys and Hopes” paragraph 78.
Pope Benedict XVI has continued to challenges Christians to be true peacemakers – bringing forgiveness and nonviolent solutions to situations of hurt and violence. Referring to the Gospels of the Beatitudes he said: ”…this Gospel is rightly considered the “magna carta” of Christian nonviolence; it does not consist in surrendering to evil—as claims a false interpretation of ‘turn the other cheek’ but in responding to evil with good, and thus breaking the chain of injustice. It is thus understood that nonviolence, for Christians, is not mere tactical behavior but a person’s way of being, the attitude of one who is convinced of God’s love and power, who is not afraid to confront evil with the weapons of love and truth alone. Loving the enemy is the nucleus of the ‘Christian revolution,’ a revolution not based on strategies of economic, political or media power. The revolution of love, a love that does not base itself definitively in human resources, but in the gift of God, that is obtained only and unreservedly in his merciful goodness.” Pope Benedict XVI, Vatican City, 18 February 2007
The further explanation of peace can be broken down into three themes: Making peace in our broken world violence in the community, Conscientious Objectors to War and The Arms Trade and Nuclear War.
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