Christ's Peace Isn't Based on Force, Says Pope

Touches on Theme of Christian-Unity Week

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 21, 2004 ( The peace proclaimed by Christ is not based on recourse to force or the simple balance of powers, John Paul II says.

Reflecting on the theme of the current Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, “My Peace I Give to You,” the Pope offered the more than 4,000 pilgrims present at today’s general audience a reflection on the Christian view of peace.

The Pope said that Christ’s words at the Last Supper are, in a certain sense, his “spiritual testament.”

“The promise made to the disciples will find its full realization in the resurrection of Christ,” the Holy Father told those gathered in Paul VI Hall. “When appearing to the Eleven in the Cenacle, he addressed them three times with the greeting: ‘Peace be with you.’

“The gift given to the apostles, therefore, is not just any kind of ‘peace,’ but Christ’s very own peace: ‘my peace,’ as he said. And, to make himself understood more plainly: I give you my peace, ‘not as the world gives.'”

“The world longs for peace, has need of peace — today as yesterday — but it often seeks it with improper means, at times even with recourse to force or with the balance of opposing powers,” the Pope said.

“In such situations, man lives with a heart troubled by fear and uncertainty. The peace of Christ, instead, reconciles spirits, purifies hearts, converts minds,” he added.

The writers of the program of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity proposed the theme. This year an ecumenical group in Aleppo, Syria, was assigned to write the program.

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