Poverty a Major Enemy of Peace, Says Archbishop Martino

Vatican Official Visiting Colombia

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MEDELLIN, Colombia, MAY 8, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The principles of education for peace are closely united to the evangelizing mission of the Church «as teacher of peoples and expert in humanity,» says a Vatican official.

Archbishop Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, delivered that message Wednesday when he addressed the clergy of the Archdiocese of Medellin. He is visiting Colombia for the 2nd Congress of National Reconciliation, which started Monday in the capital, Bogota.

Speaking on «Social Pastoral Care and Reconciliation at a Time of Conflict,» Archbishop Martino said that, according to the teaching of Popes Paul VI and John Paul II, «the new names of peace are justice, development and solidarity.»

Poverty and social marginalization are among the greatest enemies of peace, the archbishop said. Hence, a «no» to war must be accompanied by a commitment to social justice and the defense of human dignity and freedom, he said.

However, «education for peace presupposes the recognition of the unity of the human family and the planetary common good, and it means to educate in distributive and social justice and in effective respect for the rights of every many and of all peoples,» the Vatican official stressed.

Archbishop Martino went on to explain that education for peace also implies formation «in dialogue, in acceptance and in understanding of others’ reasons.»

Part of the endeavor of education for peace is «to give back an ethical soul to politics and the economy,» he said. «Under everyone’s eyes are the perverse effects of economic activity separated from morality and guided exclusively by earnings and profit.»

An opening to justice and solidarity «will give a new face to the economy, transforming it in a great factor of peace,» the archbishop said.

He concluded that it is necessary for every one to contribute to the cause of peace, given that «the war can be decided by a few, but peace presupposes the solidaristic commitment of all.»

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