Cardinal Hume calls for peace in Europe
TOTAL nuclear disarmament and an uncompromising rejection of nuclear weapons must he an essential factor if a Christian vision in Europe is to he achieved. Cardinal Flume said in a major address on Monday.
In what can he seen as a significant reference to the current East/West discussions on nuclear disarmament, the Cardinal went on to say: "The eventual outlawing of all nuclear weapons by all nations is the inescapable obligation of all of' us towards humanity. Such a policy presupposes the goodwill of the international community and a binding commitment by the world's leaders to disarm."
The Cardinal's remarks came in an important lecture given to the Christen Forum in Ghent, Belgium. The lecture is an annual event and previous lectures have included the Prime Minister of Belgium. Archbishop Daneels of Malines and Brussels and Cardinal Suenens.
Entitled "'The truth concerning man ...': Some reflections on the Christian contribution to the future of Europe-. the talk was an attempt to provide a theological basis for a distinctively Christian approach to the future of Europe.
But the Cardinal's reflections went far beyond that. They had obvious implications for all Christians involved in world polities, especially in the areas of nuclear defence. the "enormous disparity" between rich and poor countries. and care for the handicapped.
On this last point. the Cardinal made an oblique reference to the controversy stirred up by the recent trial and acquittal of Dr Leonard Arthur. "In Britain there is a tendency to sit in judgement on the quality of life possible for others. Yet, the Christian remembers that the physically handicapped share in a special way the sufferings of Christ and believes that the mentally handicapped, sinless in God's sight are a creation of His love which we cannot understand. but must unfailingly revere."
Talking about his vision for Europe, the Cardinal recalled another vision. this time from Zechariah.
"Let the image of the unwalled city ringed by God's power and radiant with His presence, challenge all of us,the Cardinal said. The European community represents the first step towards a more peaceful and cooperative grouping of neighbouring countries. At the same time. hossever, we remain aware of the divisions between East and West, symbolised by the "ugly no-man's land where guns, mines and dogs are used to reinforce the Iron Curtain.
Commenting on the common problems shared by Europe. the Cardinal spoke of consumerism. new technology. terrorism and unemployment. He said: "The growing army of young unemployed everywhere in Western Europe is a commentary on a materialistic consumer society. which. for the time being at least. seems to he running out of energy and ideas at about the same time.'
Cardinal Hume concluded the lecture by exploring the possibilities for a way forward. "We must develop practical cooperation with fellow Christians and explore the consequences of our common baptism. our sharing in the mission of Christ as priest. prophet and king."