Basis of Peace Is Right to Life, Says Cardinal Sodano

In Letter to the Organization of American States

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 7, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Convinced that the right to life is the foundation of peace, the Holy See appealed to nations of the Americas to invest more in essential services and less in weapons.



The appeal was made in a letter written on behalf of John Paul II by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano, to the assembly of the Organization of American States, being held in Quito, Ecuador, through Tuesday.

The letter, delivered by Archbishop Alain Lebeaupin, papal nuncio in Ecuador, states that "the pillars of peace have a common foundation: the right to life."

"It is a right that, to be fully exercised, calls for worthy conditions of life: food, housing, education, health care, work, freedom, etc.," the letter adds.

"To guarantee such conditions, considerable financial resources are needed that, unfortunately, are often lacking," the letter continues. "On one hand, how many riches, including today, continue to be wasted when ever more sophisticated instruments of war are accumulated while, on the other, what is necessary for the integral development of man is lacking."

"In many nations of the world, too many armaments continue to circulate, when it is far more necessary to have housing, schools, roads, light, potable water and medicines," laments the letter signed by Cardinal Sodano.

"Only awareness of the sacredness of life and full respect for each stage of its development, from its conception to natural death, can lay the basis for the construction of a genuine 'city of peace,'" the letter adds.

"Full respect for the right to life also implies the enormous and indispensable work to eradicate everything that impedes the latter to live in a worthy manner, namely, poverty, with its multiple causes and numerous victims," it states.

The letter ends with an appeal to the American countries with greater resources and financial institutions to "make a generous effort" to assist some countries of the continent that "have urgent need of international aid."

The Organization of American States, which is made up of 35 countries, has among other fundamental objectives to strengthen democracy, build peace, defend human rights, foster free trade, combat drugs and promote sustainable development.