In the Commonweal magazine article “Protect Thy Neighbor” (June 21, 2016) authors Mark J. Allman and Tobias Winright echo the Catholic Catechism when they say: “If and when the day ever comes when war is abolished—and like all Catholics, we pray for the arrival of that day.”
Catholics are urged by the Catechism (#2307) not only to pray for the day when war is abolished, but work to end it. “Because of the evils and injustices that accompany all war the Church insistently urges everyone to prayer and to action so that the divine Goodness may free us from the ancient bondage of war.”
Forty years after the Declaration of Independence Thomas Jefferson said “Laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. ... [They] must advance ... and keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy, as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.”
What should humanity do now to exchange our old clothes of the past for something more appropriate for today's world? I propose that we commit ourselves to advancing love over hate and hope over despair. We should strive to implement structures that will make our planet sustainable and our human family more ethical and moral. We should practice active non-violence and wage peace rather than war. We should seek to establish security and justice for all. We should develop a global community where basic human rights are protected and greater economic equity is implemented. We should create a democratic world federation that would be a legal governing body for the Family of Nations. That is an ideal for humanity that has been advocated by many, including in several official pronouncements of the Catholic Church.
“It is our clear duty, then, to strain every muscle as we work for the time when all war can be completely outlawed by international consent. This goal undoubtedly requires the establishment of some universal public authority acknowledged as such by all, and endowed with effective power to safeguard, on the behalf of all, security, regard for justice, and respect for rights. But before this hoped-for authority can be set up, the highest existing international centers must devote themselves vigorously to the pursuit of better means for obtaining common security.” (The Church Today, Part II, Second Vatican Council, Chapter 5, # 82)
Written by Father Benjamin J Urmston, SJ
One can further examine a Vision of Hope at www.xavier.edu/frben
Note: Father Ben Urmston is a Jesuit Priest and Professor Emeritus at Xavier University in Cincinnati, OH. He recently was identified as one of Xavier University “Sustainability Heroes” and was recognized as a Peace and Justice Champion.