VATICAN CITY, DEC. 11, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI says peace is learned in the family, since it is a school of justice, obedience and power placed at the service of the weak.
Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, presented today the Pope’s message for the 2008 World Day of Peace, celebrated each Jan. 1.
The 41st World Day of Peace focuses on the theme “The Human Family, a Community of Peace.” The papal message has been published in six languages, including English.
“Throughout the message,” Cardinal Martino said in his presentation of the text, “the Holy Father shows us how the family and peace are constantly linked in a fruitful union.”
This, he added, “constitutes one of the most stimulating conditions for creating an appropriate cultural, social and political vision of the complex questions associated with achieving peace in our times.”
Cardinal Martino explained how the first part of the papal message “highlights the meaning and the value of the connection between the family and peace,” while in the second part “the human family is examined in relation to a series of problems that directly concern peace.”
The cardinal noted how the Pope affirmed, “Family life provides an experience of all the fundamental ingredients of peace: justice in relations between brothers and sisters, the importance of law and of the authority of parents, power experienced as service to the weakest […] help in case of need, willingness to welcome, to make sacrifices and to forgive.”
The prelate further outlined how the Pope emphasized the specific rights of the family, “an expression of the natural and universal law that exists in the minds and the hearts of all human beings.”
Cardinal Martino explained that the papal message reflects some of Benedict XVI’s concerns “because the main agent of peace, the family, is incapable of fully playing its role.”
“In fact,” the cardinal added, “many legislative initiatives work against peace by weakening the family founded on marriage between a man and a woman, by directly or indirectly forcing families not to be open to accepting a morally responsible life, or by not recognizing the family as having primary responsibility in the education of children.”
The president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace spoke of “the particular requirements of the human family” as enumerated in the Pontiff’s message: environment, economy, moral law and overcoming conflict.
“The question of the environment is closely linked to peace,” he said, “because for peace in the human family, it is important that the earth be considered as our joint home.” The world must be managed responsibly and for everyone, the cardinal continued, to which end the “path of dialogue, rather than that of unilateral decisions” must be followed.
The cardinal also considered the role of the economy. He quoted the papal message: “Peace is experienced in families when no one lacks what they need and when the economy — the fruit of the work of some, the savings of others and the active collaboration of everyone — is well organized in solidarity, without waste or excess. […] The image of the family helps us to maintain the balance between the two facets of the economy: correct and honest relations among […] peoples, enabling them to collaborate in a context of parity and justice and, at the same time, efficient organization of resources for the production and distribution of wealth.”
“A family lives under a common standard” that is “a cause of peace because it prevents selfish individualism and bonds the members of a family together, favoring their coexistence. This must be true also of the human family,” the cardinal explained.
“In this perspective,” Cardinal Martino continued, “the Holy Father censures arbitrary actions, both within states and in relations between states,” and denounces the many situations in which “the weak must bow their heads not before the requirements of justice but before the naked power of those who have greater means then they.”
On the question of “overcoming conflicts and reinforcing the process of disarmament,” which is dealt with in the last section of the Pope’s message, the cardinal recalled that military budgets over the last decade have been the highest in history.
He also highlighted the need to reflect on the “overlap of the civilian economy with the military economy,” and on the phenomenon of “dual use,” in other words “the possibility of products, services or knowledge being employed for either civilian or military ends.”
Another theme for reflection, the cardinal concluded “is the contradiction between anti-terrorism and international security policies.” Following the 2001 attacks in the United States, he said, “the international community has adopted severe measures against the risk of terrorism; at the same time states, and particularly nuclear powers, have begun renewing their military structures and armaments.”