Cardinal Martino: 'the Christian soldier is called to be a peacebuilder'

 The Christian soldier is called not only to prevent, manage, or place an end to conflicts, but also to contribute to the reconciliation and construction of a social order based on the truth, justice, love, and freedom. This was what the President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Cardinal Renato Martino, told a group of military chaplains before they began a formation course. Recalling the task of the Military Ordinaries in leading, encouraging, and guiding the spiritual assistance of soldiers, the Cardinal affirmed that the alphabet of peace is written by the Creator on minds and hearts of every human person and can overcome any irrational inclination to war. Peace is possible if all men recognize each other as bearers of inalienable rights that are one with their original nature. With an ever greater participation in humanitarian operations and peace-keeping missions, soldiers today are perceived as ministers of security and freedom. Precisely for this reason, the President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace said, there is such an important need for their evangelization and catechetical work in the area of military pastoral care, with the goal of promoting charity (especially during armed combat), the dignity of the person, the unity of the human family, and peace. During the course for Brazilian military chaplains, Cardinal Martino also stressed the need to educate soldiers in the international humanitarian laws, which propose the noble intent to affirm human dignity and solidarity among the parties at war and to lessen the inhumane treatment in war. With this end, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace has organized two international formation courses for Catholic military chaplains on humanitarian law, in 2003 and this year, 2008. The talks will soon be published by the Dicastery. Source: Fides

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