Po e stresses human solidarit
by Cristina Odone DEVELOPMENT and solidarity are the keys to world peace, the Pope states in his message for World Peace Sunday 1987.
In his traditional New Year's message, to be delivered on January 1, the Pope calls for solidarity and a concerted effect to work for development, at individual and social levels. The fundamental principle must be, Pope John Paul II says in his I9-page address, to "treat others the way you would have them treat you".
Leading article, page four "We are one human family", the Pope asserts in his speech: "We share the same heritage" and the same planet of "immense beauty and fragility". In order to achieve true solidarity, and to bring about worldwide development, we must understand the "radical equality of all men and women".
Already we are witnessing some signs of solidarity amongst peoples he says, and the Pope praises the "growing collective desire — across political, geographical or idealogical boundaries — to help . . . those struck by natural disaster, war and famine".
International sports events, too, and the increasing sharing of cultural and artistic riches express a growing spirit of universal brotherhood, according to the papal message.
Emerging 20 years after the publications of "Populorum Progresso", Pope Paul VI's encyclical on development, these recent signs of international solidarity give testimony, says the Pope, to his predecessor's understanding of peace as the fruit of development.
But solidarity, and development must go hand in hand, Pope John Paul emphasises, because the one "fosters" the other: when we understand that we are all "brothers and sisters in a common humanity", we are then forced to "promote values that truly benefit individuals and society".
Foremost among these values is the family: "the family", says the Pope, "is the basic call of society, the first place where development occurs or does not occur".
But the family "in too many societies... has become a secondary element", "relativised by various forms of interference". The ensuing phenomena of broken families, according to the Pope, is evidence of "moral underdevelopment and of a society that has confused its values".
Conditions that "are beneficial to families promote the harmony of the society and nation", the Pope says: this in turn "fosters peace at home and in the world".
The Pope also examines the numerous "assistance programmes" and "aid packages" which now focus on aiding development. Although praiseworthy, these schemes are not enough, according to the papal message, to achieve an "effective development".
"Helping those in need" does not mean financial assistance alone, but, also on "helping them discover the value which enable them to build a new life and take their rightful place in society with dignity and justice".
Obstacles still stand in the way of solidarity and development, and the Pope outlines the numerous "positions and policies that ignore or deny the fundamental equality and dignity of the human person": xenophobia, the closing of borders in an arbitary fashion; ideologies that preach hatred or distrust — especially "racial hatred, religious intolerance, class divisions".
Moreover, the "continuing problem of the external debt of
many of the developing countries"; the "new and powerful divisions" erected between the nations that boast of technological advances and those that do not; the relationship between "disarmament and development"; and finally the "breakdown of the family (which) is the basic cell of society" constitute great threats to peace, warns the Pope.
Overcoming such modern challenges calls for more than "human efforts", the papal message argues. Peace must "be sought in prayer and meditation", says the Pope, citing the recent World Day of Prayer for Peace at Assisi as a "visible commitment... to seek peace... to work for a society in which justice will flourish and peace abound".
Everyone, says the Pope, is "called to be like Christ, to be peacemakers through reconciliation,... to "treat others the way you would have them treat you"': to do otherwise is to commit the "sin of division".
Especially instrumental as peacemakers are the Government leaders and those responsible for international agencies, those who "travelor who are involved in cultural exchanges"; and the "youth of the world".
In his conclusion, the Pope appeals to these members of society to realise the importance of their role, and "forge new bonds of peace in fraternal solidarity".
The Pope also issues an appeal to "those who practise violence and terrorism": "I beg you again... to turn away from the violent pursuit of your goals — even if the goals themselves are just". The Pope warns that "the way of violence cannot obtain true justice for you or for anyone else."