Peace-building: it can work
From: Vatican Radio
Date: Jan. 2, 2013
(Vatican Radio) In his Message for World Day of Peace January 1st, Pope Benedict hailed as "blessed" the peacemakers of today. Peace-building among communities and faiths has long been a part of Catholic social teaching. And it’s not just about building up peace between countries or communities at war. Even when bombs aren’t falling and guns fall silent, the Catholic Church says social relationships have to be rebuilt and victims of violence rehabilitated with a vision for the long term.
Maryann Cusimano Love, Associate Professor of International Relations at the Catholic University of America, is one of the Church’s leading experts on peace building.
She is on the Core Group for the U.S. State Department’s working group on Religion and Foreign Policy and serves on the U.S. Catholic Bishops’ International Justice and Peace Committee.
Tracey McClure asked Professor Love how Christians, Muslims and Jews can contribute to world peace and realistically, how can they cooperate towards that goal?
Professor Love says “we are at a time when states are challenged around the world in dealing with many problems from terrorism, to ethnic violence, to civil war. And religion is resurging around the world. So, you’re looking at where is there some functional capacity that we can have to try to build peace? And religions can be a very important source of that.”
“I know that seems counter-intuitive. Certainly, since September 11th, but often, religion is painted as the bad guy, the source of war. Or else, religion is unimportant…but I think that overlooks the tremendous power that religion, religious organizations have in providing education, health care and providing emergency and humanitarian assistance. And in that work, they build relationships...with people on the ground in areas of conflict.”
When governments are unable to respond to conflict or to the needs of their people, Love says, it is often religious organizations already working with the people on the ground who can offer assistance and the knowledge and relationships needed to resolve problems.
Listen to the RealAudio or mp3 version of the extended interview with Professor Cusimano Love who also speaks on the topics of new evangelization and the role of families in peace-building.