"The response to terrorism and violence is never more violence" ... Archbishop Martino
Disarmament is necessary to eradicate world hunger and to create conditions for peace, says the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Archbishop Renato Martino, who until recently was the Vatican's permanent observer to the United Nations. He expressed this conviction when presenting the papal message for the World Day of Peace celebrated tomorrow, New Years Day. The message is entitled "'Pacem in Terris': A Permanent Task," in memory of Pope John XXIII's 1963 encyclical. [See Feature Story below]
"If the new name of peace is development, every day disarmament for development should be increasingly necessary," Archbishop Martino said.
"Hunger will not be able to be eliminated in the world if so many millions of dollars are invested every year in military expenditures," he stressed. "Developed countries, which are those that spend most on arms and sell most arms to the poor, have the responsibility to see that these resources are allocated to development and not to war. If we do not proceed to disarmament, it is peace that remains disarmed."
Disarmament must be accompanied by little gestures of peace in daily life, the archbishop continued, quoting the Pope's appeal in his message to each one to generate peaceful gestures in his environment. Peace must respect truth and fulfill its commitments, John Paul II insisted.
In this connection, Archbishop Martino alluded to the promises made by developed countries to developing countries, especially during world summits, to reduce the foreign debt and poverty.
"Since Sept. 11, peace is threatened by the cancer of international terrorism," the archbishop said. "The response to terrorism and violence is never more violence. Peace is not weakness but strength."
Referring to John XXIII's encyclical "Pacem in Terris," the archbishop said that peace "does not consist in the absence of war but in much more: Peace is built on moral principles that recognize human freedom."
Archbishop Martino explained that the papal message does not refer to many of the ongoing conflicts that lacerate the world, with the exception of the conflict in the Holy Land, to which he dedicated a specific passage.
The archbishop believes that Palestinians and Jews "are condemned to peace, they cannot but coexist in peace, as the geographic configuration itself calls for it."
Asked by journalists about the Church's position on a possible "preventive" war in Iraq, Archbishop Martino distinguished between the right of persons and states to defend themselves against an unjust aggression, and a preventive war.
To defend oneself when attacked is legitimate because an unjust aggression has taken place, he said. But a preventive war is not the same, he added, "because it is a war of aggression and there is no doubt whatsoever that it does not belong to the definition of a just war," which consists of legitimate defense.
In regard to the new international moral order that the Pope would like to see in place, the archbishop referred to three exigencies that require answers:
--first, that peace should not dispense with morality;
--second, that a "new organization of the human family be implemented, without interpreting this as the constitution of a global super-state";
--third, that there be a closer relation between morality and politics.
According to the Pope, politics is a human activity and, because of this, subject to moral judgment, the archbishop said.
Finally, Archbishop Martino said that he saw no impediment to the Vatican's possible entry as a member in the United Nations given that the organization "is an instrument of peace."
31 Dec 2002