Tuesday, February 06, 2007

What Is Peace?

In a recent address, one of the Holy See's top international representatives decried the belief that a "culture of conflict" could pave a road to peace.

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican observer at the UN outpost in Geneva, spoke at an interfaith prayer service in the Swiss city last week, which was reported on by CNS:
Achieving peace implies closing the gap between the rich and poor as well as stopping terrorism and armed conflict, said a Vatican official.

It also implies "stopping a revived arms race and the proliferation of a variety of weapons (and) rejecting the glorification of violence in the media," [Tomasi said]....

The archbishop reminded participants that millions of people are affected by current wars and, in many cases, a total disregard for humanitarian law.

He said there should be no surrender to the "culture of conflict" or acceptance of the idea that clashes are unavoidable and war is natural.

At the same time, Archbishop Tomasi said, the church is not naive. It recognizes that violence has become an increasingly complex phenomenon and poses unprecedented challenges to the international community, he said.

The search for peace is an orderly process that starts with tolerance, moves toward respect and justice, and culminates in the discovery that the highest vocation of every person is love....
Shown above while presiding over last year's funeral of the World Health Organisation director Lee Jong-wook, Tomasi -- one of the few top diplomats not brought up through the ranks of Secretariat of State -- has been the Vatican's man in Geneva since 2003, when he was named to replace Archbishop Diarmuid Martin following the Irishman's transfer home to Dublin. Before serving at the UN's European headquarters, he was nuncio in Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Djibouti after having been the #3 official of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Itinerant Peoples.

Though Italian-born, Tomasi has heavy US cred -- the Scalabrinian priest earned his Ph.D. in sociology from Fordham University. His studies completed, the observer spent many years in New York, where he co-founded the Center for Migration Studies and even penned a tome on the historic legacy of the city's Italian parishes.

Also a member of the Missionaries of St Charles (as the Scalabrini community is formally known), the archbishop's brother Fr Lydio is pastor of Holy Rosary Church in Washington.