By LARISSA I. LOPEZ

“Let us walk and pray together so that never again in our history we have to be ashamed of the way in which one human being eliminated another, because they were incapable of dialoguing and finding consensus to walk together,” exhorted the executive of the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM) in a message entitled “Let Us Walk Together for Peace in the World,” addressed to the People of God and the Episcopal Conferences of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Prayers for Peace

At the beginning of the message CELAM states that, in unity with Pope Francis, “we add our prayers for peace in the world, for the end of conflicts that make whole families and peoples suffer and, in particular, for the grave tension being lived in these moments between several countries: war only brings death and destruction.”

The executive also points out that in this context it is right “to remember what Pope Pius XII said: ‘the danger is imminent but there still is time. Nothing is lost with peace; everything is lost with war!’”

Prioritize Dialogue

Therefore, the Latin American Council unites itself to Pope Francis’ call “inviting all sides involved to prioritize the path of dialogue, of peaceful solution of controversies and unrestricted respect of international law.”

“We join with the Pope in prayer and we reject all forms of violence and social fracture, and we call the world’s great nations, especially their rulers, to mutual respect, concord, good understanding and to spare no effort to avoid a scenario of greater tension,” continues the text.

Finally, in this Epiphany Season the message encourages the Episcopal Conferences of Latin America and the Caribbean, and Episcopal Conferences worldwide, united to the Pope, to organize Days of Prayer for Peace.

Pope Francis’ Message

In fact, for the 53rd Wold Day of Peace, entitled “Peace as Path of Hope: Dialogue, Reconciliation and Ecological Conversion,” the Holy Father said that “peace, as object of our hope, is a precious good, to which the whole of humanity aspires,” therefore, it’s about the virtue that “sets us on the way, gives us wings to advance, including when the obstacles seem insurmountable.”

In his message, the Pontiff also highlights the importance of seeking “true fraternity, which is based on our common origin in God and is exercised in dialogue and mutual trust.”

Build “A World of Peace”

In his address, after praying the Angelus on January 1, 2020, date on which the World Day of Peace is held, the Holy Father expressed this desire “for all, believers and non-believers, because we are all brothers, I don’t want to cease hoping for a world of peace that we can build together day after day.”

On October 6, after the recitation of the Marian prayer, Pope Francis renewed his “best wishes for serenity and peace in the Lord” for all, and he added, “in many parts of the world a terrible air of tension is breathed. War only brings death and destruction.”

Therefore, he appealed to all sides to keep “alight the flame of dialogue and self-control and to avoid the shadow of enmity.”

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