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Quotes and news

Today the Church celebrates the 50th World Day of Peace. The following are quotes from Pope Francis’s message on the theme ‘Nonviolence: a Style of Politics for Peace’.

Importance of the politics of non-violence

“I ask God to help all of us to cultivate non-violence in our most personal thoughts and values. May charity and non-violence govern how we treat each other as individuals, within society and in international life. When victims of violence are able to resist the temptation to retaliate, they become the most credible promotors of non-violent peace-making. In the most local and ordinary situations and in the international order, may non-violence become the hallmark of our decisions, our relationships and our actions, and indeed of political life in all its forms.”

The true battlefield: the heart

“Jesus himself lived in violent times. Yet he taught that the true battlefield, where violence and peace meet, is the human heart: for ‘it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come’ (Mk 7:21). But Christ’s message in this regard offers a radically positive approach. He unfailingly preached God’s unconditional love, which welcomes and forgives. He taught his disciples to love their enemies and to turn the other cheek. He walked that path to the very end, to the cross. To be true followers of Jesus today also includes embracing his teaching about non-violence.”

More powerful than violence

“Non-violence is sometimes taken to mean surrender, lack of involvement and passivity, but this is not the case. When Mother Teresa received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, she clearly stated her own message of active non-violence: ‘We don’t need bombs and guns to bring peace – just get together, love one ano­ther… And we will be able to overcome all the evil in the world. While weapons traffickers do their work, there are poor peacemakers who give their lives to help one person, then another and another’; for such peacemakers, Mother Teresa is a symbol, an icon of our times.”

Roots of non-violence: home

If violence has its source in the heart, then it is fundamental that non-violence be practised before all else within families… The family is the indispensable crucible in which spouses, parents and children, brothers and sisters, learn to communicate and show generous concern for one another, and in which frictions and conflicts have to be resolved not by force but by dialogue, respect, concern for the good of the other, mercy and forgiveness.”

The Beatitudes as a manual of peace-making

“Jesus himself offers a ‘manual’ for this strategy of peace-making in the Sermon on the Mount. The eight Beatitudes provide a portrait of the person we could describe as blessed, good and authentic. Blessed are the meek, Jesus tells us, the merciful and the peacemakers, those who are pure in heart, and those who hunger and thirst for justice.

“This is also a programme and a challenge for political and religious leaders, the heads of international institutions, and business and media executives: to apply the Beatitudes in the exercise of their respective responsibilities. It is a challenge to build up society, communities and businesses by acting as peacemakers. It is to show mercy by refusing to discard people, harm the environment, or seek to win at any cost.”

(Compiled by Fr Joe Borg)

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