From a Rome Correspondent
"Minds must be disarmed", says Pope Paul in a message for the Day of Peace celebrated by the Catholic Church internationally on January 1 and in England and Wales on February 9. His idea — central to the whole message — is that peace is only effective when it is the result of an inner attitude.
The Pope's message begins with the reflection that the whole of society is in a delicate balance. Man changes and society evolves. This means that peace has to be continually made. Men have to work ceaselessly for peace within this process of rapid evolution and have to be educated "in the discipline of order".
"Things change too", says the Pope, referring to new situations and new problems which constantly arise. Peace depends on how these problems are solved.
Pope Paul insists that solutions must never be sought in selfish and violent conflicts, nor in war. Men are brothers, and must create a peace which is not oppressive. They must be untiring in their search for genuine peace.
Pope Paul thanks all those who promote peace on earth and praises them for having chosen as their basic axiom that 'only peace generates peace'.
He then recalls that the Second Vatican Council thought that it was a Christian duty to work for the outlawing of wat. Peace must never be imposed by matching terror with terror. It must grow out of mutual trust. A "renewed education of attitudes" is necessary and a public opinion that is in favour of peace.
The Pope stresses that peace is only of value when it is interior before becoming exterior. "Minds must be disarmed," he says, before men will disarm themselves of weapons. Peace must have spiritual roots, roots of love and mutual understanding. Such an interiorisation of peace is true humanism, says Pope Paul. It is already present in the world and it is growing as men communicate more readily together.
The Pope points out that we must not be deluded by this progress for there still remain enormous threats to world peace. He surveys the whole range of possible causes of conflict in today's world, among which he mentions "new forms of jealous nationalism" and "sad situations of poverty and hunger".
Our civilisation is defective, continues the Pope, the defect being in the spiritual element of life. That element is present in the world but more must be done, he insists, to use it to bring about reconciliation and peace.
"Progress must be made towards a peace which is loved, free and brotherly, founded, that is, on a reconciliation of hearts". It is not impossible. "We have faith", says Pope Paul, "in a fundamental goodness of individuals and of peoples."
Pope Paul concludes by referring to the part both women and young people play in promoting peace.
He rejoices on the eve of International Women's Year at the wider participation of women in the life of society. The Pope outlines the feminine qualities that "enable women to be in a particular way the creators of reconciliation in families and society", These qualities are "intuition, creativity, sensibility, a sense of piety and compassion and a profound capacity for understanding and love."
Pope Paul praises the "generous and loving" mentality of young people which promises unforseeable resources for reconciliation. "This", he says, "can signpost the road of peace".
He sums up his message in these words: "Reconciliation is the way to peace". The Pope asks Catholics to reconcile themselves, first of all, with God. This is the work of Christ, he says, who is our peace. Reconciliation with God is the cause of peace.
Pope Paul calls upon Catholics to work for internal unity within the Church and for unity among all Christians. The Pope ends by asking them to meditate on his document for the Holy Year "Exhortation on reconciliation within the Church." He asks them to draw from it inspiration for peace and reconciliation. He prays that "Holy Year will give the Catholic Church the inexpressible experience of the restoration of the unity of some groups of brethren already so near to one fold but still hesitant to cross its threshold".