VATICAN CITY, NOV. 17, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Truth, justice, love and freedom must be present if there is to be peace between peoples and nations, says a Vatican official in a message to Muslims.
In a message sent for the conclusion of the month of Ramadan, the president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, reflected on the need to construct peace on those four values proposed by Pope John XXIII in his 1963 encyclical “Pacem in Terris.”
Truth “includes the recognition that human beings are not their own masters, but are called to fulfill the will of God, the Creator of all, who is the Absolute Truth,” the archbishop said in his message “Constructing Peace Today,” published today by the Vatican press office.
“In human relations, truth implies sincerity, essential to mutual confidence and fruitful dialogue leading to peace,” he wrote. “Truth, moreover, brings each individual to acknowledge his or her own rights, but also to recognize his or her own duties towards others.”
Archbishop Fitzgerald added that “peace cannot exist without justice, respect for the dignity and rights of each human person,” and justice must “be tempered by love.”
This implies, in turn, “the ability to recognize that we all belong to one human family, and so to see our fellow human beings as our brothers and sisters.” Love “makes allowances for weakness, and so includes the ability to forgive,” the archbishop stressed.
“Forgiveness is essential to the restoration of peace when conflict has broken out, for it opens up the possibility of beginning again, on a new basis, in a restored relationship,” he added.
“All this supposes freedom, an essential characteristic of the human person,” as it “allows people to act according to reason and to assume responsibility for their own actions,” the British archbishop continued.
“Indeed, each one of us is responsible before God for our contribution to society,” he reminded them.
Prayer is a “fifth pillar” that Archbishop Fitzgerald added to the foundations for the construction of peace. “For we know that, as human beings, we are weak. We find it hard to live up to these ideals. We need God’s help,” he noted.
The archbishop mentioned that John Paul II indicated this in the World Day for Peace in Assisi, on Jan. 24, 2002, when he said: “To build the peace of order, justice and freedom requires, therefore, a priority commitment to prayer, which is openness, listening, dialogue, and finally union with God, the prime wellspring of true peace.”
“The month of Ramadan is not only a time of fasting, but also a period of intense prayer. I wish to assure you, my Muslim friends, that we are united with you in prayer to the Almighty and Merciful God,” Archbishop Fitzgerald wrote.
“May he bless each one of you and all the members of your families,” he concluded. “May this blessing be a source of comfort in particular for those who have suffered, or who are still suffering, on account of armed conflict. May the Good God give all of us the strength to be true constructors of peace.”