Non-violence a "way of being", Benedict says

Non-violence is not merely tactical behaviour but rather "a personal way of being" based on love, Pope Benedict told pilgrims at yesterday's Angelus in which he also remembered the Lunar New Year celebrated in parts of Asia.

"Turning the other cheek" does not mean giving in to evil but reacting to evil with good, just as "loving one's enemies" means putting "more" love in a world marked by too much violence and too much injustice, the Pope said, according to an AsiaNews report.

Before reciting the Angelus, Benedict XVI talked about "one of the most typical and strongest excerpts of the preaching of Jesus. 'Love your enemies'.

"But what is the meaning of these words of his? Why does Jesus ask us to love our enemies, that is, a love that surpasses human capacity?" the Pope asked.

"In reality, the suggestion of Christ is realistic because it takes into account that there is too much violence, too much injustice in the world and therefore the situation cannot be overcome unless it is countered by more love and more goodness.

"This 'more' comes from God: it is his mercy, which became flesh in Jesus and alone can 'turn the balance' of the world away from evil towards good, starting from that small and decisive 'world' that is the heart of man."

According to Pope Benedict, "this Gospel page is rightly considered to be the Magna Carta of Christian non-violence, which consists not of giving in to evil - according to a false interpretation of 'turning the other cheek' - but in responding to evil with good, thus breaking the chains of injustice."

He says that Christian non-violence is not merely tactical behaviour but "the attitude of one who is so convinced of the love and strength of God that he is not afraid to face evil armed with just the weapons of love and truth."

He says that loving one's enemy constitutes the nucleus of the "Christian revolution" which changes the world "without making any noise about it."

Pope Benedict also referred to a series of general strikes in Guinea, calling for respect for human and civil rights.

In his greeting to the faithful, the Pope also remembered the Lunar New Year celebrated in China, Vietnam and neighbouring countries, sending best wishes of "serenity and prosperity" to "all those great peoples".

Vietnam celebrated "Tet" on Saturday while China celebrated its new year yesterday.

Pope explains Christian nonviolence and sends New Year greetings to Chinese (AsiaNews, 18/2/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Christian nonviolence (Wikipedia)
Center for Christian Nonviolence
Pace e Bene Australia
Catholic Worker Movement
Pax Christi Victoria | Pax Christi NSW

Indian Catholics mark Gandhi non-violence centenary (CathNews, 6/2/07)

19 Feb 2007