July 31, 2006

Pope Calls For Cease-Fire

But mangles the reasoning behind the call for a cessation of violence, and misapprehends the potential outcome of the use of violence to stop further violent actions:
"In the name of God, I appeal to all those responsible for this spiral of violence, so that they immediately put down their arms on all sides," the pope told pilgrims and tourists at his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, on the outskirts of Rome. Pausing slightly, he repeated the word "immediately."

"I appeal to governing leaders and to international institutions not to spare any effort to obtain this necessary cessation of hostilities," the pontiff said.

. . .

"In this moment I cannot help but think of the situation, ever more grave and more tragic, that the Middle East is going through: hundreds of dead, so many wounded, a huge number of the homeless and refugees, houses, cities and infrastructure destroyed," Benedict said. "These facts demonstrate clearly that you cannot re-establish justice, create a new order and build authentic peace when you resort to instruments of violence."
It is difficult to understand how the pope could misinterpret the beneficial use of force in his own lifetime, in his homeland. One could not kill Nazism or totalitarianism by acquiescence, but by force. Reestablishing justice in Europe--at least for those in Western Europe--came at the price of thousands of military and civilian casualties, and authentic peace was not obtained, as Chamberlain proclaimed, by a piece of paper or a verbal promise, but by the unconditional surrender of an enemy that had ravaged the continent for six years. Those are the lessons to derive from WWII, and not the cut-and-run, head-in-the-sand, moral equivalency that places the call for peace over any other consideration. Ask for "peace at any cost" and it may cost, dearly.


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