Pope Battles for Peace

Dr Suresh Mathew Dr Suresh Mathew
28 Dec 2020

On his visit to a parish in Rome, Pope Francis told the parishioners during his homily: “Love isn’t playing violin, not all romantic; it is something else; it is taking responsibility for others. It is caring for others." The Pope who has his fingers on the pulse of the world knows what is lacking in humanity in the present day. As the world is faced with one of the most troubled times in the recent memory, he has wisely identified “A culture of care as path to peace” as the subject for his message marking 54th World Day of Peace falling on January 1. The World Day of Peace, established by Pope St. Paul VI in 1967, is different from the International Day of Peace started by the United Nations in 1981 and observed on September 21. 

The Pope is emphatic that peace dawns when we care for others. He is pained by the various forms of nationalism, racism, xenophobia and conflicts afflicting the world even when it is shattered by a tiny virus. He is aghast that people are still caught in the whirlpool of greediness which is the root cause of lack of peace in the world. Hence his prescription of path to peace through caring for each other is the right remedy which no other world leader has dared to offer. What we see around the world justifies the Pope’s diagnosis of the present-day crisis. 

When Islamic fundamentalists unleash unprecedented attack on peace-loving people in Europe and other nations, they are proclaiming that they don’t care for others. When the US closes its borders to its neighbours like Mexicans, it is another way of stating that the most powerful nation doesn’t care for the less privileged brethren. The same is true when Myanmar allows unbridled attack on Rohingya and make them flee to unseen shores. One got to see the same unconcern and uncaring attitude when millions of migrant labourers in India were made to walk on the roads in scorching sun during the lockdown. In the ongoing farmers’ agitation too, wherein thousands are made to spend their days and nights on the borders of Delhi in freezing cold, it is the government’s apathy that is coming out glaringly. Across the world, such instances of unconcern for the other are galore.   

Human beings cannot survive in isolated islands. There has to be a bond, relationship which should lead to a culture of care. This is the only path to peace for which the world yearns for. The pandemic has taught us that the virus has treated all of us on equal footing irrespective of the racial, regional, religious and economic differences. It has taught us that no individual can alone save himself/herself; no state can ensure the common good of its population. 

The Church has a special responsibility in adhering to the Pope’s call for a ‘culture of care’. As we conclude, the last words also go to him. During one of his parish visits, 15-year-old Beatrice asked how she could convince her friends that the Church isn't boring. Pope Francis responded that "sometimes they're right," and that everyone at a parish — including the priests, nuns and parishioners themselves — must make sure that the warmth of God's love and joy of the risen Lord shine on their faces. And it is possible only by caring for each other.

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