By Cindy Wooden
VATICAN CITY — While nations have a right to defend themselves and a responsibility to protect their citizens, “no war is worth the loss of the life of even one human person, a sacred being created in the image and likeness of the Creator,” said a papal message to the Paris Peace Forum.
“No war is worth the tears of a mother who has seen her child mutilated or killed,” the message said. “No war is worth the poisoning of our common home.”
Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the apostolic nuncio to France, read the message Nov. 10, the first day of the two-day forum of government, business and civic leaders discussing the theme, “Seeking Common Ground in a World of Rivalry.”
“At a time when we are helplessly witnessing the multiplication of armed conflicts, with their attendant suffering, injustice and sometimes irreversible damage to our common home, the pope wishes for this forum to be a sign of hope,” said the message, which was signed by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the message noted, but “we must admit that for millions of people on every continent, the persistent gap between the solemn commitments made on December 10, 1948, and reality has yet to be bridged.”
“How many people, including children, are deprived of their fundamental and primary right to life and to physical and mental integrity as a result of hostilities between different groups or different countries?” the message asked. “How many people are deprived as a result of conflict of the most elementary rights, such as the right to drinking water and healthy food, but also the right to freedom of religion, to health, to decent housing, to a quality education, to a dignified job?”
“Peace is not built with weapons, but through patient listening, dialogue and cooperation, which remain the only means worthy of the human person for resolving differences,” the message said.
Cardinal Parolin told participants that Pope Francis wanted “to reiterate the Holy See’s unceasing call for arms to be silenced, for the production and trade of these instruments of death and destruction to be rethought, and for the path of progressive but complete disarmament to be resolutely embarked upon, so that the logic of peace can finally be heard loud and clear!”