Justice and peace are inseparable, Pope Francis says in UAE

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Feb 4, 2019 / 10:35 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In an interreligious meeting in Abu Dhabi Monday, Pope Francis said that for peace to flourish among religions, there must be justice, and respect for human dignity and freedom.

“Justice is the second wing of peace. No one, therefore, can believe in God and not seek to live in justice with everyone, according to the Golden Rule,” the pope said Feb. 4. “So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.”

“Peace and justice are inseparable!”

Speaking at Abu Dhabi’s “Founder’s Monument,” which commemorates the founder and first president of the United Arab Emirates, Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the pope emphasized that is the task of religions to promote human dignity, particularly for the least and the poor.

Religions “should keep watch as sentinels of fraternity in the night of conflict. They should be vigilant warnings to humanity not to close our eyes in the face of injustice and never to resign ourselves to the many tragedies in the world,” he said.

This “human fraternity” also comes with the duty of rejecting and condemning war, he stated, noting its “miserable crudeness” and “fateful consequences.”

“I am thinking in particular of Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Libya,” he said. “Together, as brothers and sisters in the one human family willed by God, let us commit ourselves against the logic of armed power … let us oppose all this with the sweet power of prayer and daily commitment to dialogue.”

Pope Francis, the first pope to visit the Arabian peninsula, is in Abu Dhabi, capital of the UAE, Feb. 3-5 to promote interreligious dialogue and give support to the country’s Christian minority.

Before the interreligious meeting, he met for around 30 minutes with the Muslim Council of Elders. He then visited the city’s Grand Mosque with the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, Ahmed el-Tayeb, before paying his respects at Zayed’s tomb.

At the interreligious meeting, the pope praised last November’s meeting, the first, of the Forum of the Interreligious Alliance for Safer Communities, which was on the theme of child dignity in the digital world.

“I thank, therefore, all the leaders who are engaged in this field,” he said, “and I assure them of my support, solidarity and participation and that of the Catholic Church, in this very important cause of the protection of minors in all its forms.”

Reflecting on interreligious dialogue, he said the point of departure is recognizing God as the origin of “one human family,” that “He who is the Creator of all things and of all persons wants us to live as brothers and sisters, dwelling in the common home of creation which he has given us.”

Francis pointed out that to honor the creator requires valuing the sacredness of each human life, “equally precious in the eyes of God.”

“Thus, to recognize the same rights for every human being is to glorify the name of God on earth. In the name of God the Creator, therefore, every form of violence must be condemned without hesitation, because we gravely profane God’s name when we use it to justify hatred and violence against a brother or sister,” he said.

An important part of effective dialogue and human fraternity is prayer, he said. It “purifies the heart from turning in on itself. Prayer of the heart restores fraternity.”

Quoting The Brothers Karamazov, by Fyodor Dostoevsky, he said: “May our prayer – each one according to his or her own tradition – adhere fully to the will of God, who wants all men and women to recognize they are brothers and sisters and live as such, forming the great human family in the harmony of diversity.”

“There is no alternative: we will either build the future together or there will not be a future,” he continued. “The time has come when religions should more actively exert themselves, with courage and audacity, and without pretense, to help the human family deepen the capacity for reconciliation, the vision of hope and the concrete paths of peace.”

During the meeting, Pope Francis and Tayeb signed a joint declaration “on human fraternity for world peace and living together,” asking that the document “become the object of research and reflection in all schools, universities and institutes of formation.”

The four-and-a-half-page declaration condemned issues such as the taking of innocent human life, terrorism, world hunger, materialism, and a lack of equitable distribution of natural resources.

It also stated that the family is “the fundamental nucleus of society and humanity,” and noted that to attack, to regard with contempt, or to doubt the importance of the institution of the family “is one of the most threatening evils of our era.”

“In conclusion, our aspiration is that … this Declaration may be a sign of the closeness between East and West, between North and South, and between all who believe that God has created us to understand one another, cooperate with one another and live as brothers and sisters who love one another,” it stated.

If you value the news and views Catholic World Report provides, please consider donating to support our efforts. Your contribution will help us continue to make CWR available to all readers worldwide for free, without a subscription. Thank you for your generosity!

Click here for more information on donating to CWR. Click here to sign up for our newsletter.

1 Comment

  1. Every time I hear this refreshing view that peace and justice are inseparable I am also reminded on one Fr. Werenfried von Straaten, the “bacon priest” whose corporal works of mercy helped feed backstreet Germany following the Second World War.

    In the late ‘70s, with tattered hat in hand, he spoken to a packed audience at the Seattle University campus and announced his correction to bumper sticker evangelization: “No Peace without Justice. . . AND no Justice without Truth…”

    Von Straaten was not enamored with Cardinal Casaroli’s accomodationist Ostpolitik with respect to the Soviet Union–a policy that was resolutely and skillfully undone by St. Pope John Paul II(collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991).

    As an engulfing religious belief and culture (the Sharia mosque-state), Islam is a categorically different matter, and a complex one. The article several times presents the dialogue as (correctly) “inter-religious” rather than (falsely) ecumenical, and seeks a legitimate joint-commitment for, together, seeking the common good, especially for endangered Christian communities in the Middle East.

    May the equally legitimate distinction between inter-religious and ecumenical remain respected, rather than possibly being rendered ambiguous…

    Recent news has it that “The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue is without a leader since Cardinal Jean Louis Tauran, the president, died in July 2018. It is still uncertain whether the pope will appoint a new president OR will merge the pontifical council with another Curia office.”

    Will inter-religious dialogue (e.g., with Islam…) be ambiguously merged with the(currently Christian)ecumenical dialogue of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (but now with a new letterhead)? Kitchen-blender theology?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

All comments posted at Catholic World Report are moderated. While vigorous debate is welcome and encouraged, please note that in the interest of maintaining a civilized and helpful level of discussion, comments containing obscene language or personal attacks—or those that are deemed by the editors to be needlessly combative or inflammatory—will not be published. Thank you.