Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
November 30, 2009
Roche looks forward to more enlightened, peaceful world
He foresees global shift in thinking that involves humanists, people of faith
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
TORONTO - A global shift in thinking is occurring that can lead to "the maturation of civilization" and "a more enlightened and peaceful world," retired politician Douglas Roche said here Nov. 20.
"We have to be able to see past the problems of the day to observe a shift in human thinking," Roche said in the annual Chancellor's Lecture at Regis College.
Roche said "an integration of humanity" is taking place thanks to the development of science and technology and a new understanding of universal human rights.
FORCES OF NATURE
"The very forces of nature, business, communications and world politics are building up a single society."
Roche, an 80-year-old former senator and member of Parliament, has had an illustrious career that included serving as Canada's ambassador for disarmament.
He traced trends and events that he said are helping to transform the world from exclusive societies living independently of each other to inclusive societies that comprise diverse peoples. "'Different' people are no longer confined to distant lands. 'Different' people are all around us."
Roche said the 21st century has discovered that military force cannot bring security. "Certainly the 'war on terror' has proven to be grossly miscalculated as a way to deal with terrorists or insurgents."
Although global military spending has increased 45 per cent in the last decade, the number of armed conflicts in the world has declined, he noted.
But political systems "have not yet come to grips with the crisis of humanity," he said. "I am outraged at the political duplicity of the powerful, who speak of equality and peace but rely on military means to force their will."
There is, nevertheless, "a gathering global conscience" that looks forward to a world that is human-centred and genuinely democratic, Roche said.
He took inspiration from the Church's social teaching, including Pope John XXIII's assertion that the only reason for civil authority is the attainment of the common good.
He also cited Pope Benedict's recent encyclical, Charity in Truth, that says a true world political authority is sorely needed.
Such an authority, Roche said, would "promote international cooperation, manage the global economy, achieve integral and timely disarmament, food security and peace, protect the environment and regulate migration."
But while being rooted in the Catholic tradition, Roche said, "Religions will not lose by joining enthusiastically with secular humanists in the promotion of a global ethic that centres on the well-being of humanity."
Neither religions nor secular humanists by themselves will be able to develop a global ethic that solidifies the culture of peace, he said.
He cited theologian Hans Kung who maintains that the world has a chance for survival "only if there is no longer any room in it for spheres of differing, contradictory and even antagonistic ethics."
Roche said his efforts to help develop a global conscience are his way "to reach out for something greater than myself.
"Working on the human security agenda - nuclear disarmament, sustainable development, protection of the environment and advancing human rights - is the way I related to God, the way I find him, the way I think I understand better his plan for creation."
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