From Julius B. Kezi, Kafanchan
Catholic Pontiff, Pope Francis II has called on World leaders and the Church to work for peace by overcoming the attitude of indifference and foster a sense of love, solidarity, justice and mercy for the survival, unity and development of mankind.
In a message to Commemorate World Peace Day observed at the Catholic Diocese of Kafanchan, Kaduna State last weekend, which was delivered by Rev. Father Aaron Tanko, His Holiness, Pope Francis emphasized on the need for people to de-emphasize factors that promote indifference to having love and world peace.
Speaking on “Over Coming Indifference and Win Peace”, the Catholic pontiff urged leaders to fight hatred, injustice, poverty, unemployment, discrimination, hunger, greed, diseases and other vices that jeopardize existence, survival and development of society, pointing that “mercy is the heart of God”, and how we love and care for others is “the yard stick” by which God will judge our lives.
He lamented that instead of ensuring the basic rights and needs of people are preserved, economic and political projects and power are frequently pursued by leaders and stakeholders, explaining that when people notice that their basic rights to food, water, health, shelter and employment are denied, they are prone to the temptation of obtaining these needs by force, leading to hostilities and violence.
Pope Francis spoke on the importance of fostering fraternity, saying, “we are responsible for those around us”, positing that without solidarity, people are less human, emphasizing that human beings cannot live their lives in isolation, hence “whatever happens to my neighbour, should be my concern. We should be our brothers’ keepers”, without treating each other with hate and prejudice.
Identifying indifference as “a menace to the human family”, the Pope noted that indifferent attitude take three forms; indifference towards God, denial of Him affects public and social sphere, to making man acknowledge himself, thereby producing cruelty, violence, institutionalization of indifference against the dignity, rights and freedom of others.
To overcome indifference, the Pope recommended that Jesus Christ example be emulated by loving and showing solidarity, investment in other humans, as Christ did through identifying with man, whose death and resurrection reconciled man with God, restored man as co-heir and master or property owner of the earth.
The Pope cautioned that the attitude of indifference seeks to exercise itself with tasks to complete or hide behind hostilities and prejudices, which separate people.
He urged members of the public to build solidarity the responsibility of each and sundry, starting from the home, (families), the school (teachers) and the community (elders or state-holders in the society).
The Spiritual Father challenged the media, which have a special and divine role to “serve the truth and not particular interest”, stressing that the media is not to serve personal or sectional interest but all.
Communicators, especially in the media must “be mindful of the way in which information is obtained, processed, managed and made public”, they should always be legally and morally admissible to enable the people to grow morally, spiritually, mentally and physically devoid of causing disaffection and rivalry.
He encouraged civil societies to make “courageous gestures of concern” for the most vulnerable in society such as prisoners, migrants, the sick and unemployed.
The cleric called for review of death penalties for prisoners and consideration for their amnesty and rehabilitation, thereby teaching them love, compassion and mercy of God which the state should propagate.
The Pope further called on nations to review migrants laws to facilitate them legal residence and integration into the society, which will strengthen ties and peace.
Pope Francis made passionate appeal to national leaders to refrain from drawing people into conflicts or wars, but should exhibit forgiveness and find sustainable management of debts of poorer nations or adopt policies of cooperation, “instead of bowing before the dictatorship of certain ideologies. He also preached for the protection of the right to life of the unborn.”
Also at the event, the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Kafanchan the most Right Rev Dr Joseph Danlami Bagobiri stressed the need for all members of society not to give up the pursuit of love and peace, even when efforts put in, seem not to yield commensurate results.
Bishop Bagobiri said the Church will continue to mobilise people to devote time for cooperation and fervent prayers for peace in the society.
He noted that to attain peace, there must be attitudinal change, mutual interaction, tolerance, forgiveness and maintenance of a disposition that will pave way for harmonious living.
The Catholic Bishop of Kafanchan Diocese urged members of the public to have respect for one another and others’ culture.
He advocated dialogue in all issues of disagreement or conflict, which helps to build better future for children, stressing that though peace is a gift from God, people must consciously invest and work to achieve and sustain it for the wellbeing and development of the community or nation.
Bishop Bagobiri equated the global crises or violence in which lives and property are wantonly destroyed, especially against Christians, as a systematic third world war, taking place in pieces here and there.
The Bishop called on adherents of religions who believe in One Supreme God of the Universe, especially Christians, Muslims and Jews, not to tolerate discrimination, marginalization, injustice and wanton destruction of lives and property and reject violence, as the Kingdom of God, cannot be achieved or expanded through violence.
He noted that if all religions throw away the garment of violence, greed and injustice; love, peaceful co-existence, unity and development will be achieved.
A cross section of people that attended the peace summit expressed willingness to advocate and advance the course of peace in all communities.
Alhaji Mohammed Kabir Kassim, a Cleric and former Acting Director of Administration, Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs Abuja, quoted several portions of the Holy Quran and the Holy Bible which share divine virtues of love, peace, justice, compassion for the less-privileged and being our brothers’ keepers. He also said “civilization means the art of living peacefully with all types of people and religions”.
He particularly called on Muslims, Christians and Jews, who believe in One God to promote peace as a divine responsibility.
Alhaji Kassim, who represented the Emir of Jama’a Alh. Muhammad Isa Muhammadu, re-iterated the importance of cordial relationship between man and God, and man and man, to guarantee societal peace and harmony.
The Agwan Takad, His Highness Tobias Nkom Wada, said solutions reached at such summit be translated into workable solutions to challenges of peaceful co-existence