When all the world’s tumults and tribulations are considered, it’s easy to conclude that in the battle between love and hate, hate might be winning.
In the U.S., dialogue has gone the way of the railroad caboose and service station attendants. Instead of discussing our political or social differences, we seem to spend our time yelling at each other.
Meanwhile, the world is coming undone.
Children are being gunned down in schools; elderly people are shot and killed while shopping for groceries, murdered simply because they are Black. As hard as it is to imagine, there are lost souls in our land who believe that these mass shootings, these eruptions of violence, aren’t real. They put reason and logic aside — abandoning even that which can been seen with their own eyes — to say the events are merely the creations of political enemies, who hire actors to pretend to be dead or dying.
To what end?
In the midst of all this national carnage, the political machinations, the media frenzies, the rising cost of living and the declining compassion among many, there are pundits who believe that we’ve entered “a post-truth” era. Politicians, statesmen and other leaders used to be honored for their honesty. But now they know they can lie — blatantly tell an obvious falsehood — and be forgiven for it by those who either share their political ideology or simply don’t care.
Facts to some are an unnecessary complication. Many politicians have proven, in a perverse kind of way, the veracity of the notion of a “post truth” era.
They lie their way to power, then lie to keep their hold on it.
And across the waves at the eastern edge of Europe, a dictator invaded another country in February. His armies have destroyed cities, created millions of refugees and killed men, women and children in numbers known only to God. In Ukraine, lives and any sense of normalcy have been scattered to the wind for reasons Russian Premier Vladimir Putin has yet to adequately explain.
Yet there is cause for hope. As this atrocity against humanity has unfolded, Pope Francis has been speaking out against the war, trying to resurrect dialogue as a means to save human lives. He’s been working to help our rudderless world find its way.
“We had thought that invasions of other countries, savage street fighting and atomic threats were grim memories of a distant past,” the pope said last March. “The icy winds of war, which bring only death, destruction and hatred in their wake, have swept down powerfully upon the lives of many people and have affected us all.”
In the pope’s efforts, people of faith can see the gleam of hope in the distance. Among the violence, uncertainty and upheaval, we can take heart that the pope, following in the footsteps of the Prince of Peace, is speaking truth to power. He’s attempting to bring the carnage of Ukraine, the violence in Sri Lanka, the unrest around the world, to a peaceful end.
When the invasion of Ukraine began, he was quick to raise his voice in an appeal for peace. He spoke in the first days of the war against “this unacceptable armed aggression” and the “barbarism of the killing of children.”
“In the name of God,” he said, “I ask you to stop this massacre.”
His pleas, while giving us cause for optimism, have thus far fallen on unhearing ears. The war of winter has blazed through spring and into summer. More than seven million Ukrainians remain displaced and people continue to be killed. Yet the pope has remained steadfast in his efforts to halt the violence.
In doing so he continues to remind us that despite the chaos among men, we can all find hope in the Lord.
Record Editor Emeritus