VATICAN CITY, JAN. 9, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI proposed truth as a way to peace when he assessed the world scene at an audience with diplomats accredited to the Holy See.
“Peace, alas, is hindered or damaged or threatened in many parts of the world,” the Pope said today to the ambassadors of 174 states that have diplomatic relations with the Holy See. “What is the way that leads to peace?”
The Holy Father replied to this question by explaining that “wherever and whenever men and women are enlightened by the splendor of truth, they naturally set out on the path of peace.”
The Pope’s proposal to the international community was the same he expressed in his Message for the World Day of Peace, observed Jan. 1: “In Truth, Peace.”
Benedict XVI highlighted four points in his proposal to the diplomats. In attendance were representatives of the European Communities, the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, the Russian Federation and the Palestinian Liberation Organization.
Above all, the Pope said, “commitment to truth is the soul of justice.”
“Those who are committed to truth cannot fail to reject the law of might, which is based on a lie and has so frequently marked human history, nationally and internationally, with tragedy,” he stressed.
This lie, which “often parades itself as truth,” might serve as the basis for “the danger of a clash of civilizations” that is “made more acute by organized terrorism, which has already spread over the whole planet.”
The second point the Holy Father presented to the diplomats was “commitment to truth,” which “establishes and strengthens the right to freedom.”
“Man’s unique grandeur is ultimately based on his capacity to know the truth,” he said. “And human beings desire to know the truth. Yet truth can only be attained in freedom.”
In this context, Benedict XVI said that some states, “even among those that can boast centuries-old cultural traditions, freedom of religion, far from being guaranteed, is seriously violated, especially where minorities are concerned.”
Addressing those responsible for the life of nations, the Holy Father exclaimed: “If you do not fear truth, you need not fear freedom!”
In his third point to the diplomats, the Pope explained that “commitment to truth opens the way to forgiveness and reconciliation.”
Benedict XVI noted the common objection that says differences over truth have caused tensions, misunderstandings, disputes and even wars of religion.
“This is undeniably true,” he said, “but in every case it was the result of a series of concomitant causes which had little or nothing to do with truth or religion.”
He added that “asking for forgiveness, and granting forgiveness … are indispensable elements for peace.”
No to revenge
Therefore, the Bishop of Rome presented reconciliation as the way to overcome most of the conflicts taking place in Middle East, especially Iraq, and Africa, particularly the Darfur region of Sudan.
“Bloodshed does not cry out for revenge but begs for respect for life, for peace!” he stressed.
The fourth and last point the Pope highlighted was that “commitment to peace opens up new hopes.”
Aware that “man is capable of knowing the truth,” the Pope encouraged the diplomats to trust that it is possible to address the great problems humanity faces today.
“One cannot speak of peace in situations where human beings are lacking even the basic necessities for living with dignity,” he said. “Here my thoughts turn to the limitless multitudes who are suffering from starvation.
“To peoples living below the poverty line, more as a result of situations to do with international political, commercial and cultural relations than as a result of circumstances beyond anyone’s control, our common commitment to truth can and must give new hope.”