2013-08-06 Vatican Radio(Vatican Radio) The President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Cardinal Peter Turkson, is in Japan for the “Ten Days for Peace” inititative, which is marked in every diocese of the country to mark the 10th anniversary of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which took place on the 6th and 9th of August, in 1945. He spoke on Tuesday morning at a meeting of inter-religious leaders.
Here is the full text of his remarks
From suffering to peace-building
The first Atom Bomb of 6 August 1945 at Hiroshima is a “frightful wound inflicted” upon the people of Japan and the whole human family. I am honoured to be with you solemnly to remember its 68th anniversary and to participate in Ten Days for Peace.
We represent the great religious and spiritual traditions of Asia – Buddhists and Shintoists, Christians who are Evangelical / Reformed / Protestant and Catholic – as well as contemporary global secularism. Each tradition can explain its vision as we come on pilgrimage here to a memorial of untold horror and destruction.
According to Catholic belief, God made man for life, for freedom and for happiness. And yet our destiny here on earth, much of the time, seems to consist of suffering, which we are tempted to undergo as chastisement or punishment, as a cruel fate. Such senseless suffering can eventually defeat us.
In 1981, Blessed John Paul II properly named the suffering brought by war, specifically by the Atom Bomb, as the fruit of human sin and the result of evil at work. Pope Francis made a similar clarification: “The possession of atomic power can cause the destruction of humanity. When man becomes proud, he creates a monster that can get out of hand.”
Individuals and societies are always tempted by the passions of greed and hate; but they do not have to succumb. Instead of excluding those who are deprived, let us meet their needs. Instead of avoiding those who suffer, let us accompany them. Instead of cursing what we ourselves suffer, let us offer it up for others. Instead of hiding from today’s problems, let us together bravely address the social situations and structures that cause injustice and conflict.
For “no amount of ‘peace-building’ will be able to last,” according to Pope Francis, “nor will harmony and happiness be attained in a society that ignores, pushes to the margins or excludes a part of itself.”
Real peace-making is to include and to integrate. Then, according to the Christian faith, we join Jesus Christ in the saving logic of His Cross. With St. Paul we affirm that “death is swallowed up in victory,” and triumphantly we can demand, “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
From victims of suffering crushed by war, may I invite each of us, and our faith communities, to honour the memory of Hiroshima, by collaborating in solidarity to build real peace. Thank you.
Cardinal Peter K.A. Turkson