|U.S. Bishops Note Urgency Of Pope's Call For Work On Nuclear Disarmament, Care Of Environment In Papal Peace Message||En Espanol|
WASHINGTON (December 11, 2007)—Pope Benedict XVI addresses nuclear disarmament and environmental concerns in "The Human Family, A Community of Peace," his message for the World Day of Peace, January 1, 2008. The statement, dated December 8, was issued December 11.
"Pope Benedict XVI's call for nations to show 'greater determination' for 'a progressive and mutually agreed dismantling of existing nuclear weapons' is urgent and should be of the highest priority for citizens of the world," said Cardinal Francis George. "The Pope's concern for the environment is also paramount."
Pope Benedict also stressed the importance of the natural family.
"The family is the first and indispensable teacher of peace," he said. "It is no wonder, therefore, that violence, if perpetrated in the family, is seen as particularly intolerable." He added that the family is vital to creating world peace "because it enables its members in decisive ways to experience peace." He added that "whoever, even unknowingly, circumvents the institution of the family undermines peace in the entire community, national and international, since he weakens what is in effect the primary agency of peace."
The Pope also stressed the need to care for the environment.
"One area where there is a particular need to intensify dialogue between nations is that of the stewardship of the earth's resources," he said. "The technologically advanced countries are facing two pressing needs in this regard: on the one hand, to reassess the high levels of consumption due to the present model of development, and on the other hand to invest sufficient resources in the search for alternative sources of energy and for greater energy efficiency."
"The emerging countries are hungry for energy, but at times this hunger is met in a way harmful to poor countries which, due to their insufficient infrastructures, including their technological infrastructure, are forced to undersell the energy resources they do possess," he said also. "At times their very political freedom is compromised by forms of protectorate or, in any case, by forms of conditioning which appear clearly humiliating."
The Pope also addressed economic inequalities among nations.
"Efforts must also be made to ensure a prudent use of resources and an equitable distribution of wealth," he said. "In particular, the aid given to poor countries must be guided by sound economic principles, avoiding forms of waste associated principally with the maintenance of expensive bureaucracies. Due account must also be taken of the moral obligation to ensure that the economy is not governed solely by the ruthless laws of instant profit, which can prove inhumane."
The Pope stressed the importance of basic moral norms, the natural law.
"For the sake of peace, a common law is needed, one which would foster true freedom rather than blind caprice, and protect the weak from oppression by the strong," the Pope said. He added that "in many situations, the weak must bow not to the demands of justice, but to the naked power of those stronger than themselves. It bears repeating: power must always be disciplined by law, and this applies also to relations between sovereign States."
The Pope added that people are capable of discovering "this common moral law which, over and above cultural differences, enables human beings to come to a common understanding regarding the most important aspects of good and evil, justice and injustice. It is essential to go back to this fundamental law, committing our finest intellectual energies to this quest, and not letting ourselves be discouraged by mistakes and misunderstandings."
Cardinal George said the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) urges all in the United States to "read carefully the Pope's message."
"It points out that every one of us, individually and as a nation, bears responsibility for peace-making, which begins at home both in how we treat one another and how we use all the earth's resources," Cardinal George said.