VATICAN CITY, JAN. 13, 2003 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II spelled out three requirements to the international community in order to overcome “the feeling of fear” among “our contemporaries”: respect for life, respect for law, and solidarity.
Analyzing the causes of this fear, the Pope referred in particular to the “insidious terrorism capable of striking at any time and anywhere; the unresolved problem of the Middle East, with the Holy Land and Iraq; the turmoil disrupting South America, particularly Argentina, Colombia and Venezuela.”
He made his comments today during a speech to the diplomats accredited to the Vatican.
Among “many plagues threatening the survival of humanity, the peace of individuals, and the security of societies,” the Pope mentioned “the conflicts preventing numerous African countries from focusing on their development; the diseases spreading contagion and death; the grave problem of famine, especially in Africa; the irresponsible behavior contributing to the depletion of the planet’s resources.”
“Yet everything can change. It depends on each of us,” he said, pointing out the three requirements that are necessary “if entire peoples, perhaps even humanity itself, are not to sink into the abyss.”
Above all, the Holy Father said, leaders of nations must say “yes to life.”
“Respect life itself and individual lives,” he stressed. “Everything starts here, for the most fundamental of human rights is certainly the right to life.”
“Abortion, euthanasia, human cloning, for example, risk reducing the human person to a mere object: life and death to order, as it were!” he added. “When all moral criteria are removed, scientific research involving the sources of life becomes a denial of the being and the dignity of the person. War itself is an attack on human life since it brings in its wake suffering and death. The battle for peace is always a battle for life!”
In the second place, the Pope called for “respect for law,” as life “within society — particularly international life — presupposes common and inviolable principles whose goal is to guarantee the security and freedom of individual citizens and of nations.”
“These rules of conduct are the foundation of national and international stability,” he said. “Today political leaders have at hand highly relevant texts and institutions. It is enough simply to put them into practice. The world would be totally different if people began to apply, in a straightforward manner, the agreements already signed!”
In the third place, the Holy Father highlighted the “duty of solidarity.”
“In a world with a superabundance of information, but which paradoxically finds it so difficult to communicate and where living conditions are scandalously unequal,” he said, “it is important to spare no effort to ensure that everyone feels responsible for the growth and happiness of all.
“Our future is at stake. An unemployed young person, a handicapped person who is marginalized, elderly people who are uncared for, countries which are captives of hunger and poverty — these situations all too often make people despair and fall prey to the temptation either of closing in on themselves or of resorting to violence.”