Pope's message to military chaplains

 A group of military chaplains complete a two-day formation course on human rights , organized by the Congregation for Bishops and the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace at the Vatican today. The Pope told them in a message: " "It is precisely when arms are unleashed, that the need becomes imperative for laws that make military operations less inhuman. Throughout the centuries, awareness of a similar need gradually grew, right up to the progressive formation of a real and proper 'juridic 'corpus', defined as 'international human rights law.' This 'corpus' has been able to develop thanks to the maturation of principles inherent to the Christian message." John Paul II emphasizes that the military chaplains must bear witness that "even in the hardest of battles it is always possible, and therefore a duty, to respect the dignity of the military adversary, the dignity of civilians, and the indelible dignity of each human being involved in armed conflicts. In this way, reconciliation necessary for the reestablishment of peace after the conflict is favoured." After making reference to the present "difficult hour in history" due to the outbreak of a new war, the Pope affirms that "thinking of the victims, the destruction and the suffering caused by armed conflicts always causes great concern and pain." "It should be clear by now that war used as an instrument of resolution of conflicts between states was rejected, even before the Charter of the United Nations, by the conscience of the majority of humanity, except in the case of defence against an aggressor. The vast contemporary movement in favour of peace - which, according to Vatican Council II, is not reduced to a 'simple absence of war' - demonstrates this conviction of men of every continent and culture." The Holy Father highlighted "the strength of different religions in sustaining the search for peace is a reason for comfort and hope. In our view of faith, peace, even if it is the result of political accords and understanding among individuals and peoples, is a gift from God that we must constantly invoke with prayer and penance. Without a conversion of the heart there is no peace! Peace is only achieved through love! Right now we are all asked to work and pray so that war disappears from the horizon of humanity." Source: VIS

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