Papal encyclical on nonviolence on the cards

Pope Francis says he is considering working on an encyclical letter on nonviolence.

He discussed the possibility with reporters during his return flight to Rome after his week-long trip to Thailand and Japan.

“The plan exists, but the next pope will do it.”

The encyclical is one of many “projects in the drawer” that are “maturing there,” waiting until the time is right, he said.

Asked if he believed there could be such a thing as a “just war”, Francis said: “The hypothesis of legitimate defense remains always”.

Catholic tradition has long held that a nation attacked by an enemy could respond morally to that attack under certain conditions.

These conditions include judgements that the measures taken are proportionate to the damage inflicted and that civilians are not targeted.

At the same time, he noted, in Catholic moral teaching, responding with violence must be “the last resort; the last resort is with weapons.”

Before that step is taken, a nation must try “legitimate defense with diplomacy, with mediation,” he said.

Francis endorses the continuing development of Catholic moral teaching.

“We are making progress in ethics and I like questioning all these things. It means that humanity is moving forward positively and not only negatively.”

Francis went on to praise the United Nations for its peacemaking efforts.

However, he questioned the U.N. Security Council giving a veto power to its permanent members: United States, Russia, China, France and Great Britain.

If “there is a problem with weapons and everyone agrees on resolving the problem” to avoid war, he said “one with veto power can say no and everything stops.”

While admitting he is not an expert on the United Nations, Francis said he thought it would be a good idea if all the members were equal.

He also noted existence of “armaments hypocrisy”.

This involves “Christian countries, or at least countries with a Christian culture and European countries that speak of peace and live by (selling) weapons”.

“This is called hypocrisy,” he said.

He then spoke of nuclear weapons.

He said he made his point of view clear about nuclear weapons on Sunday when he visited Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

“I said again that the use of nuclear weapons is immoral; this must go in the Catechism of the Catholic Church”.

“And not only the use, but also the possession, because if there is an accident or a crazed government, one’s madness can destroy humanity”.

“Think about what Einstein said: the fourth World War will be fought with sticks and stones.”



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