Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
September 17, 2001
A culture of peace and sharing
One can only be horror-stricken at the barbarity of the terrorist attacks against the United States Sept. 11 that have killed thousands of innocent people. For barbarism is what these attacks are - the wanton slaughter of innocent people at the centre of the world's most powerful country.
We ask God's blessing on our neighbouring country, on the souls of the dead, and on the grieving families and friends of those who have been slain. We also pay tribute to President George W. Bush who, to this writing at least, has valiantly tried to restore calm and to give the leadership a nation needs in its hour of crisis.
May calm continue to prevail so that the actions of terrorists will not serve as an excuse to spread the bloodshed still further. May those who have masterminded this slaughter be brought to justice. And may no more innocent blood be shed.
The United States is the only nation capable of putting an end to terrorism, if indeed any nation has that capacity. May the world be freed from the terrorism that threatens freedom and the right to life.
But if the world is to be freed from terrorism, it will take much more than get-tough policies. For one will never find all the terrorists to incarcerate them. And if the gross disparities between rich and poor in this world continue, when today's terrorists are captured, new ones will rise up to take their places.
Thirty-four years ago, Pope Paul wrote the prophetic words, "Development is the new name for peace. Peace will be lost if tensions go on mounting between the over-rich and the over-poor." If we want peace then we must build justice, a justice that includes equality among all the peoples of the earth.
Seventeen years ago this week, Pope John Paul came to Edmonton and delivered a thunderous warning: "The poor South will judge the rich North. And the poor people and the poor nations - poor in different ways, not only lacking food, but also deprived of freedom and other human rights - will judge those people who take these goods away from them, amassing to themselves the imperialistic monopoly of economic and political supremacy at the expense of others."
Those words are now being fulfilled and it is a most bloody harvest.
Terrorism can only be controlled if the world's wealthiest nations put an end to their "imperialist monopoly" and build a culture of peace and sharing. Far too much of the world's energy has been put into buying and selling weapons and into meeting the superfluous desires of the wealthy while the needs of the poor go unmet. Far too much energy goes into hatred while the soul is starved of its need to love and be loved.
If a culture of peace is to be built then the U.S., as the world's most powerful nation and its greatest proponent of freedom and opportunity, should lead the way. Unfortunately, too often in the post-Second World War era, the U.S. has been a leader not in peace, but in imperialistic monopoly. Canada, to its shame, has become increasingly interested in its own prosperity, and less and less of a force for peace and sharing.
The words of Popes Paul and John Paul ring down through the decades. But there is hope - not only hope in eternity with Christ, but also the hope that we can build a better world. That can only happen if we put greater priority on the needs of others and less priority on our own desires.
Thousands of innocent people with families and friends, hopes and dreams, have been murdered. Their killers must be brought to justice. But if those people were not to have died in vain then something better must be created - a culture of peace and sharing that shows we really believe in the dignity of all people.
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