Thursday, February 20, 2003

GS 78, 1
Peace is not merely the absence of war; nor can it be reduced solely to the maintenance of a balance of power between enemies; nor is it brought about by dictatorship.
So, the Cold War was really a war, not peace. I lived most of my life in a time of war, not what was called peace time. It took a saintly pope and a courageous president to bring us to a time of peace, which lasted, I suppose, until September 11, with interruptions for the Gulf War and Yugoslavia, although one also has to admit that the terrorists were already attacking us way back in 1993.
Saddam doesn't get off the hook, either. As long as he is in power, it appears that he is not a positive influence for peace. Is that an understatement, or what?
Instead, it is rightly and appropriately called an enterprise of justice. Peace results from that order structured into human society by its divine Founder, and actualized by men as they thirst after ever greater justice. The common good of humanity finds its ultimate meaning in the eternal law.
The connection between peace and justice is Biblical (shalom) and was an important part of the message of the prophets. The question becomes, what is the eternal law in which the good of humanity finds its ultimate meaning? Some would suggest, and maybe this will become clearer later, that charity is at the heart of the eternal law, and that our working for justice and peace needs to be not only tempered with charity, but grounded in it.
But since the concrete demands of this common good are constantly changing as time goes on, peace is never attained once and for all, but must be built up ceaselessly. Moreover, since the human will is unsteady and wounded by sin, the achievement of peace requires a constant mastering of passions and the vigilance of lawful authority.
Actively working for peace between and among people, including the working for justice, is a permanent and prominent feature of the public life of any nation and of all nations. It involves personal vigilance on the part of citizens and leaders as well as political vigilance. We can never cease to play an active role in the decision-making process of our nation, nor can we cease actively applying the principles known to us and revealed to us in the eternal law to our concrete situation. Yeah, blogs!

So far we haven't gotten to anything that addresses our current situation directly, but be patient! We are laying the groundwork of peace necessary for understanding war.

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