Justice and Peace

Here’s another letter I wrote about peace and its relation to justice.

In Inquirer’s headline article on September 15, 2011, former US Ambassador Kenney was reported to have sent unclassified memos stating “total victory over the insurgents in the foreseeable future remains unlikely” and “nothing dramatic has changed in the status quo in the long-running saga of the CPP-NPA despite the Philippine government’s announced goal of defeating the NPA within two years and its allocation of additional resources”.

Such gloomy assessments might be justified if one’s thinking were confined to considerations of defeating the insurgents with guns and bombs. Where this war should be won is in the minds and hearts of people.

The Second Vatican Council taught that peace is “the fruit of that right ordering of things with which the divine founder has invested human society and which must be actualized by man thirsting for an ever more perfect reign of justice” (Gaudium et Spes, 78). Peace is the fruit of justice: opus iustitiae pax.

We must learn from Blessed John Paul the Great who had personal experience of toppling down communist regimes in Eastern Europe in the 1980s and 90s by dint of preaching on the dignity of the person, respect for the person and human rights and promoting truth, justice and freedom. He won the battle in men’s minds and hearts.

This is what he declared in his message for peace in 2002: “The enormous suffering of peoples and individuals, even among my own friends and acquaintances, caused by Nazi and Communist totalitarianism, has never been far from my thoughts and prayers. I have often paused to reflect on the persistent question: how do we restore the moral and social order subjected to such horrific violence? My reasoned conviction, confirmed in turn by biblical revelation, is that the shattered order cannot be fully restored except by a response that combines justice with forgiveness. The pillars of true peace are justice and that form of love which is forgiveness.”

If we want peace in the South, all parties involved must agree to practice justice giving to each one his due and practice fraternal love through solidarity which means each one’s concern for the good of the others.

The peace talks with the insurgents are a good step forward. I just hope that the parties involved might bear in mind the basic truths about the true sources of peace.

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