Wars Threaten Peaceful Coexistence

"Our right to peaceful coexistence is threatened by wars, and should never be protected by wars.  Moreover, it is hardly possible that a right to peaceful coexistence might be secured by victimising people." Catholic Bishops Conference of Japan, 3 July 2014.In a statement for the annual observation of 10 Days for Peace, the Japanese Catholic Bishops say that peaceful coexistence cannot be protected by wars. Read the full statement here.

Which situations in the world do you think the Japanese Bishops were thinking of when they said this? Where do you see these dynamics in your own country or region?

In your own personal life, have you ever tried to achieve your own peace and security by victimising others? What was the outcome?

About the author: Sandie

2 comments to “Wars Threaten Peaceful Coexistence”

You can leave a reply or Trackback this post.
  1. Damage Done - Aug 08, 2014 Reply

    As recently as last week George Pell was praising the “just war” theory as a piece of Catholic wisdom. How different is his view to that proposed by the Japanese Bishops. Mothers, children, wives and women have an incredible insight into the ongoing damage of war. They see it in the legacy it leaves them with. We deal with the damaged members returned by the various governments who think that public memorial and funeral services for a few can salve the human destruction of the survivors. It doesn’t.
    When I think of the damage the war brought to my family I used to get terribly upset because its effects are still rippling through our members. Vietnam delivered a dreadful and ongoing legacy to us and the damage from Korea was still present in our members.
    Have I lashed out against others? Yes.
    Have I regretted it? Yes – but it took some time to come to an understanding of what was happening to me.
    Have I felt the Catholic Church understands this? No. There was a sermon preached by a Defence Force Chaplian at Mass around ANZAC Day and it was all about the honour and the glory and the sacrifice. It just fell short of endorsing war.
    I try to work for peace in any way possible and talk about the inherent danger in demonising others and glorifying the members of the armed forces and rewarding them with key positions in the society.
    How poor a decision to move away from a civilian to an armed forces person as the Governor General. What a missed opportunity to appoint a person from the civilian side of society and another woman especially after the outstanding success of Quenton Bryce.
    It is an area where I will feel vulnerable for some time to come.
    In the days of high unemployment I worry about young people seeking careers in the defence forces. The Academies are dangerous places for them and their values are in danger of being eroded by an organisation that is engaged in denying justice to vulnerable people.

    • Sandie - Aug 08, 2014 Reply

      There are two strands to the Catholic tradition in this area, and the pacifist strand is older than the just war tradition.
      Some moral theologians saw John Paul II’s position as a kind of practical pacifism that came from assessing each case according to the just war criteria and finding it lacking.
      So much damage is done by war. Can the just war criterion of proportionality ever be satisfied?

Leave a Comment