Around the Traps: Pope John Paul II – Prophet of Peace

Reprinted from The Common Good, No 33, Pentecost 2005

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21). Evil is never defeated by evil; once that road is taken, rather than defeating evil, one will instead be defeated by evil.

Peace is the outcome of a long and demanding battle, which is only won when evil is defeated by good. At its deepest level, evil is a tragic rejection of the demands of love. Moral good, on the other hand, is born of love, shows itself as love, and is directed towards love. The inner logic of Christian love, which in the Gospel is the living source of moral goodness, leads even to the love of one’s enemies.

To attain the good of peace there must be a clear and conscious acknowledgment that violence is an unacceptable evil, and that it never solves problems. Violence is a lie, for it goes against the truth of our faith, the truth of humanity. Violence destroys what it claims to defend: the dignity, the life, the freedom of human beings.

Based on the certainty that evil will not prevail, Christians nourish an invincible hope which sustains their efforts to promote justice and peace. Despite the personal and social sins which mark all human activity, hope constantly gives new impulse to the commitment to justice and peace, as well as firm confidence in the possibility of building a better world.

No man or woman of good can renounce the struggle to overcome evil with good. The fight can be fought effectively only with the weapons of love.

This column contains excerpts from Pope John Paul’s January, 2005 World Day of Peace message. The entire text is available at www.vatican.va.

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