Cardinal: All Are Responsible for World Peace

Says Individuals and States Have Role to Play

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VATICAN CITY, APRIL 15, 2008 (Zenit.org).- The call to collaborate for world peace excludes no one, affirmed the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.



This was one of the conclusions of a Friday through Saturday conference held by that pontifical council in Rome and titled "Disarmament, Development and Peace: Prospects for Integral Disarmament."

Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the dicastery, said in a concluding statement that the participants discussed "new problems for which it is necessary to cultivate close, intense and fruitful collaboration." He called for respect of diverse opinions as well as certainty about "the common conviction that human dignity must always be defended."

"The appearance of conflict, in general, and war, in particular, is being modified," he noted. "They are more horizontal than vertical, more widespread than concentrated, more fragmented than united, more daily than exceptional, closer more than far away, more immaterial -- and even virtual -- than material."

The cardinal contended that the starting point for an analysis of the ethical and religious implications of disarmament, development and peace is based, among other things, on the duty of "the states and international organizations to renew their commitment to unified and integral development of humanity […] necessary for the peaceful and ordered coexistence of the human family."

"The states, precisely in the uncertainty provoked by globalization and phenomena such as terrorism on a global scale, have taken up again a sinister arms race, and seem to have lost confidence in dialogue, in multilateralism and in international cooperation at every level in the sector of disarmament," Cardinal Martino lamented.

Religions' task

The pontifical council president acknowledged that "there are multiple challenges," but he said that "all of us are called, in our own condition and role in society, to collaborate in solidarity among human beings and peace in the world."

At the same time, the cardinal said, "it must be reaffirmed that the great religions have a role, [that they are] called to always give a message of hope, a word of wisdom and prudence to every man, above all to those who are responsible, in various ways, for the destiny of other men and the fulfillment of the common good."

"Religions are an instrument of unity among men and men with God. […] They are called to promote a culture of peace," he said.

Referring to Christians' role, Cardinal Martino affirmed that they are called "not just to take positions regarding war, but above all to make themselves builders of peace."

And building peace, he contended, "is before anything else to take away ground from the injustices and oppressions that provoke war. […] Peace is built starting from personal responsibilities regarding justice, regarding the good of the others […] with education in peace."