Peace Calls for Teaching the Force of Law, Says Pope

And Not the Law of Force, He States in Message to Montecassino Abbot

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 25, 2004 ( Young people in particular must be taught that world peace is built on the force of law and not on the law of force, says John Paul II.

This is a key point of a message the Pope sent to Abbot Bernardo D’Onorio of Montecassino, the monastery founded by St. Benedict around A.D. 529, south of Rome. In his message, the Holy Father mentions the 1944 war battle that destroyed the abbey.

The papal message, published in L’Osservatore Romano, asks that future generations be taught the lessons that must be drawn from World War II and from the conflicts now under way.

“Young people are the hope of humanity: They must be able to grow, therefore, in an atmosphere of constant and concrete education in peace,” the message says.

“It is necessary that they learn from history a fundamental lesson of life and solidaristic coexistence: The law of force destroys, while the force of law builds,” the papal message adds.

“May the family of nations be able to experience a renewed and united commitment in favor of peace,” the Pope concludes.

Last Sunday, Abbot D’Onorio presided at a Mass in Montecassino to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the destruction-reconstruction of the abbey.

“In the Gospel, Jesus speaks to us of peace and the blessedness that peace brings,” the abbot said in his homily, published by the Vatican’s semiofficial newspaper. “Jesus himself calls the children of God agents of peace, weavers of networks and relations of peace.”

“To speak of peace today might well seem to be mere utopia,” in a world torn by some 60 wars and the recent attacks in Madrid, he said. The abbot concluded: “And yet, Jesus’ word is true, feasible and always timely: Blessed are the agents, the peacemakers, those of peaceful sentiments, which certainly do not cancel differences and opposite convictions, but are committed to making reciprocal respect arise in an effort for the common good.”

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