Cardinal Peter Turkson is in Japan for an initiative marking the anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which took place on Aug. 6 and 9, 1945.
Today at a gathering with other religious leaders, the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace spoke of the phenomenon of human suffering and the need for solidarity in achieving peace.
He called the atom bomb dropped 68 years ago today on Hiroshima a "'frightful wound inflicted' upon the people of Japan and the whole human family."
"According to Catholic belief, God made man for life, for freedom and for happiness. And yet our destiny here on earth, much of the time, seems to consist of suffering," the cardinal said, adding that "such senseless suffering can eventually defeat us."
Cardinal Turkson noted the popes' warnings about the suffering brought by war, and particularly the atom bomb, most recently Pope Francis': "The possession of atomic power can cause the destruction of humanity. When man becomes proud, he creates a monster that can get out of hand."
The cardinal said that instead of succumbing to greed and hate, societies must meet the needs of those who are deprived.
"Instead of avoiding those who suffer, let us accompany them. Instead of cursing what we ourselves suffer, let us offer it up for others. Instead of hiding from today’s problems, let us together bravely address the social situations and structures that cause injustice and conflict," he said.
Peace will never come when a society "ignores, pushes to the margins or excludes a part of itself," the cardinal continued. "Real peace-making is to include and to integrate. [...]
From victims of suffering crushed by war, may I invite each of us, and our faith communities, to honour the memory of Hiroshima, by collaborating in solidarity to build real peace."
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On the Net:
Full text of his address at Vatican Radio Web site: http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2013/08/06/cardinal_turkson:_real_peace-making_is_to_include_and_to_integrate/en1-717393