Clashes Aren't Unavoidable, Insists Holy See

Archbishop Tomasi Leads Reflection on Papal Message

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GENEVA, FEB. 7, 2006 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See's permanent observer to the United Nations at Geneva says that there can be no surrender to the culture of conflict.



"There is … no acceptance that clashes are unavoidable and that war is ever natural," Archbishop Silvano Tomasi added during his address at the interreligious peace service held last week.

The interreligious service for peace is held annually at the U.N. offices in Geneva to reflect on the papal message for the World Day of Peace, celebrated each Jan. 1.

Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Buddhist representatives attended.

Achbishop Tomasi acknowledged that the "phenomenon of violence has become increasingly complex in the 21st century and it poses unprecedented challenges to the international community."

The prelate listed some of what is implied in working for peace in the world: "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."

Archbishop Tomasi exhorted his audience to recognize that peace begins in the human heart, and only from there, moves to countries and the international community.

More than tolerance

The Vatican representative spoke of the need to "go beyond mere tolerance and reach out to others on the base of respect and justice."

He explained that tolerance "is a kind of passive acceptance of others imposed by law … without personal involvement."

"Respect instead looks at others as partners in the same humanity, children of the same Creator, with the same aspirations for a happy and peaceful life," the prelate added.

Archbishop Tomasi continued: "Effective dialogue and negotiations for peace rest on the two pillars or respect and justice, the justice of daily practical relationships that tests the sincerity of our words and agreements."

"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,'" he said, quoting Benedict XVI's message for the 2007 World Day of Peace.

Archbishop Tomasi concluded his address telling about a person who discovered the need for dialogue: "Aramin, a former fighter, active member of the Combatants for Peace, a group of former Palestinian militants and Israeli soldiers who have teamed up to urge reconciliation, said a few days ago: 'Over time, I became convinced we couldn't solve our problems with weapons and we had to talk to the other side.'

The Holy See official noted: "There is a clear convergence with the message of Pope Benedict who states: 'War always represents a failure for the international community and a grave loss for humanity.'"