Holy See Links Peace, Respect for Life at U.N.

Archbishop Migliore Draws 4 Lessons from World War II

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NEW YORK, MAY 10, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Global peace and security is possible only if life is respected, stated the Holy See to the U.N. General Assembly that commemorated the end of World War II.



On Monday, Archbishop Celestino Migliore, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, highlighted four conclusions that humanity should draw from the war.

When articulating the first lesson, the papal representative said that "among the roots of the Second World War was the exaltation of state and race, and the proud self-sufficiency of humanity based upon the manipulation of science, technology and force."

"The rule of law was no longer a vehicle for the application of justice, teaching that, when man loses sight of his transcendent aspirations, he quickly reduces himself and others to an object, a number and even a mere commodity," he said.

In the second place, explained Archbishop Migliore, war taught that "even if we accept that, under some circumstances, a limited and strictly conditioned use of force could be inevitable in order to fulfill the responsibility to protect every state and the international community, we are called to be realistic enough to recognize that peaceful resolutions are possible and no effort should be spared in achieving them."

In fact, the archbishop continued, "recognition of the tragic and devastating nature of war, and the common responsibility of past and present conflicts, press us to question not only whether war can be legal and legitimate, but above all whether it is avoidable."

"Global peace and security will be achieved only if the international community respects human life and dignity, and is committed to the social and economic development of every country and every man, woman and child," stated the Vatican representative.

The third lesson of World War II teaches that "war termination policies and post war operational planning are essential to the aim of restoring justice and peace" and to guarantee security, he said.

Archbishop Migliore called for reflection not only on the right that justifies the use of force ("ius ad bellum"), and on ethical behavior during war ("ius in bello"), but stressed that the international community must develop a new dimension: the "ius post bellum," namely, the way to achieve "quickly and effectively the establishment of a just and lasting peace" after war, as this is the "only admissible goal for the use of force."

In order to develop this new dimension, "the existing international legal instruments covering conduct and activities after war need to be reinforced and extended," explained the archbishop.

In particular, he proposed that "the ethical parameters that the modern conscience and sensitivities have developed" be taken into consideration, "such as reconciliation, to help all the parties involved re-knit bonds of friendship and neighborliness."

Fundamental elements to achieve this objective are "the security and stabilization of nations emerging from war; international solidarity in the process of socioeconomic reconstruction of the fabric of those societies; restoration of the environment after fighting has ceased; and justice at every level, since, if force has been employed for justice's sake, justice must surely influence every aspect of the peace-building process."

In the fourth place, the prelate noted the "new emphasis" "placed upon the role of the U.N. as a peace-builder."

This institution "nowadays ... exercises its functions in a broad variety of fields"; however, "these activities should not distract us from the 'sine qua non' of this organization's existence, that is, peace among nations," concluded Archbishop Migliore.