Peace - Only On The Other Side Of War

by Richard P. Salbato


Who are called the "peace makers" in civil societies? It is not the defenseless or the bullies or the cowards.  They are, in fact, the police and the armies.  Without these there would be no peace.  In societies where there is no strong police, i.e. no peace keeping force,  the bullies over power the weak.  No one is safe and there is no peace. 


An example of this in the past was Somalia where outside forces had to go in and set up a government.  This is  because tens of thousands of innocent people were being slaughtered and the population was starving. Somalia had been in a state of anarchy since the 1991 overthrow of dictator Siad Barre.  Women were being raped by mobs and children left to starve. 


In the past it was the Knights who kept the peace.  Knights became Knights because they defended the weak or kept the peace.  Castles were built to protect themselves from enemies.  Towns grew up around these castles because these could protect the weak and defenseless.  History is full of wars because there will always be people who want what belongs to others and go to war to take it.  Most often this is a greed for power and wealth.  In the past strong armies were able to go throughout the world slaughtering entire nations in their greed.  The reason they were successful is the same reason bullies are successful today. 


That reason is that others turned their backs away from what they saw as injustice but said "This is not my problem, they are not attacking me."  So armies went through one small town after another until they took everything.  In time some countries learned from history and formed treaties of mutual support.  These treaties said that if anyone attacked any one of these countries then the other countries would come to their aid.  In continents like Europe and America this brought peace but at the price of maintaining large and strong armies.  Two world wars came before treaties were formed and some form of peace entered into these two continents.  The rest of the world is not so peaceful.   Countries like England, France, Spain and Portugal withdrew from their colonies in Africa, India, China and South America.  The United States brought into her country Alaska, Hawaii and Porto Rico.   But today both Europe and America turn a deaf ear to the crimes of the rest of the world and especially to the former colonies. 


Indifference Is a Crime


The charity Aid to the Church in Need launched a campaign in Portugal entitled "Indifference Is a Crime," to highlight the situation in Cabinda, where there are "summary executions, violence, tortures, destruction and lootings."  But this indifference is the very reason there is no peace in the world today.  "It is not my problem.", is the same as saying, "Am I my brother's keeper?"  Genesis 4:09  This was the problem when the Moslems invaded the Holy Lands killing off Christians and Jews.  The Christians in Europe were isolated around small castles or little kingdoms and would not unite to fight this enemy hundreds of miles away.  As was inevitable the Moslems and Moors invaded Europe and still the small little kingdoms would not come to each others aid.  The Moslems and Moors moved all the way up Europe to Poland in the East and to the North of Spain in the West.  As one castle after another were run over the others said, "It is not my problem."  In time Isabelle of Spain united the Spanish against the Mores and drove them out and she went into Italy and drove them out of there.  In the North of what would become Portugal the resistance was started by an apparition of the Virgin Mary and the help of Angels.   More on that later.  In time only the Holy Father was able to unite these kingdoms.


Today there are very few good Samaritans.  People pass by and say "May God bless you.", or "Is it not a shame what is happening to those poor people over there?" But few if any do anything at all.  "We must pray for them."  Even in their own towns or streets the problems of the man next door are "not my problems". 


What would happen if their government wanted to tax them or send their children off to save some helpless people in Africa who were being slaughtered by their own government.  Well!  These same people would picket the government, vote them out and scream to high heaven that this is not our problem. 


Later when they die and face God, they will say, "I never did anything wrong to anyone."  God sees the entire world at once, and He sees the suffering on one side of the world at the same time He sees the well dressed ladies with the jewels and hairstyles attending their church, reading their bibles, and saying, "I thank God I am not over there in that war."  Over there = people are saying, "Why does no one come to help us?" 


Where is the Peace Promised at Fatima?


"In the end My Immaculate Heart will triumph and there will be a period of peace."   This is the promise of Our Lady of Fatima and it has not happened yet.  I get hundreds of emails a month saying that the Consecration must not be done yet because there is no peace, and in fact, world wide there is less peace today then in most historic times.  But if I was God looking down from heaven I would ask, "What are my people doing to bring about peace?"   


Genocide is defined as the specific intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a nation, a race, an ethnic or religious group, a defenseless or vulnerable group of human beings, simply for being such. Indeed, genocide literally means to kill a race or a tribe.  And yet genocide has been the mark of the 20th Century where 200 million people have been killed by communists simply for not agreeing with their governments and another 6 million Jews were killed by Hitler just for being Jews and 4 million more for not being desirables or protesting against Hitler.  Then there are another 115 million killed by Moslems just for not being Moslems.  Today in Africa this genocide is still going on in seven counties but what are the Western, civilized countries doing about it.  More people have been killed by their own governments in the 20th Century than in all the history of the world put together.   


What are we doing about it except to wait for God to do it?  He will!  But if God does it we will not like how he does it.  In the mean time, He waits for us to do it and we are doing nothing except being angry that God has not given us the peace we were promised at Fatima.  He waits for us to do it and we wait for Him to do it.   


In the Sudan genocide (ethnic cleansing of all but Moslems) has being going on for 10 years but what has the UN done about it or what has the free world done about it except to hide their eyes.  In 1994 in Rwanda 1 million people were murdered within the space of 100 days and the free world looked the other way.  Since 1986, the LRA rebels, led by Kony -- a visionary paid by Sudan who is trying to overthrow the government of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni -- have tortured and killed tens of thousands of people. They have kidnapped more than 20,000 children and turned them into slaves or child-soldiers. LRA rebels also have caused the displacement of 1 million civilians.

In Angola innocent people continue to suffer grave abuses by the Luanda government's armed forces in a years-long civil war and has caused at least 30,000 deaths since 1975.


To understand the scope of genocide, you must consider that genocide was the cause of 169 million deaths between 1900 and 1987, 17 times the population of Portugal and half the population of America. And this does not include deaths by Communism.

Religious freedom does not exist in Burma, China, Cuba, Laos, North Korea, Vietnam,  Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia,  Sudan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Israel, Bangladesh, India, Egypt, Georgia, Guatemala, Indonesia and Nigeria, and this is a form of genocide although not always in deaths.


Father Albanese said, "Today I have been in hell, a hell forgotten by all, in a remote area of northern Uganda. It is terrible to see the people die, it is even more terrible to see the silence that surrounds this execrable conflict, in which those who die are always innocent people."


Cardinal Karl Lehmann said we must have "Solidarity with Persecuted and Oppressed Christians.-- The current persecution of Christians is often ignored and sometimes directly suppressed." Moreover, "assistance to all the persecuted and oppressed, regardless of their religion, is an obligation of Christians."


No peace?  What are we doing about it?  I believe when God does allow the peace of Our Lady's promise, it will be on the other side of a very big war. 

Force of Law or Law of Force


Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the former Vatican secretary for relations with states says: "The role of papal diplomacy is based on the centrality of the human person and his rights, the promotion and defense of peace, and the affirmation that peace is not only the absence of conflicts, but is supported by an order based on law and justice." Consequently, "there is no peace without justice," he said.  He added that "the force of law must prevail over the law of force."

Archbishop Migliore noted that, although the international community has adopted juridical instruments, these "have not prevented new genocides from happening.  Something must have gone wrong, and the international community is duty-bound to examine why they failed." It is important, he added, "to determine whether the failure was due to instruments and structures which have become wanting in the face of evolving criminal strategies, or to a lack of political will to implement them, or to interests overriding the survival of a nation or a group, or to all these factors combined. This task is all the more compelling if we consider that, since genocide's intent to destroy a nation or a group implies coordinated planning and long-term strategy, signs of an impending threat could hardly escape notice of an attentive international community.

"Genocide is latent in places where eliminating the other is considered a fast solution to drawn-out rivalries and unresolved conflicts; where blatantly unjust relations between groups are ideologically justified; where under the surface of apparent order are embers of hatred still burning for lack of mutual forgiveness and reconciliation; where acceptance of past mistakes and a 'purification of memory' are obstructed by the fear to confront the historical reality," he added.

Let me put it my way, law without some force of law is no law at all.  Genocide is an attempt to have peace without justice by eliminating all opposition. 

There is no Peace without Justice


"The role of papal diplomacy," Cardinal Tauran said Thursday, "is based on the centrality of the human person and his rights, the promotion and defense of peace, and the affirmation that peace is not only the absence of conflicts, but is supported by an order based on law and justice." Consequently, "there is no peace without justice," he said. 


Peace without justice is jail, defeat, or suppression.  After 40 years of genocide there was 35 years of peace in Russia, but this was not the peace of Christ,  just the absence of conflicts because the communists had taken complete control of the people. 


Often people engaged in just conflicts seek peace to such a degree that they give up justice just to end the conflict and let the evil win.  This happens in families, with children, with injustice in business, with unpaid bills, and with a false concept of turn the other cheek. 


The true peace makers demanded justice even if they cannot defeat the enemy.  This is what the martyrs were.  They were helpless in power but for that reason they still did not give in to the demands of the enemy. They went to the death in defense of justice and human rights.  Saying "No!" to an enemy is a form of violence because by giving in to the demands of the enemy one can have peace, no death or violence.  So just by saying "No!" one has agreed to violence.  This was the choice of Christ going to his cross of His own free will.  He could have prevented it.

Does Our Lady Support a Just War?

For over 100 years the Moors had driven out the Christians from the Mediterranean to the high mountains in the north of Spain and what would become the north of Portugal.  By the year 722 the Christina had never won any victory over the Moors in all the Iberian Peninsula.  A small band of knights hid out in a cave called Covadonga on the side of a deep canyon formed by a large running river below.  Moors were coming up the other side of the canyon down below and outnumbered the knights over 100 to 1.  Dom Pelayo led this small group of knights and hidden in the cave they debated whether to fight to the death or to run and hide.  Dom Pelayo made a cross with two peaces of wood and convinced the knights to fight to the death for the sign of the Cross. 

They moved into the cave to make their stand and to fight as the Moors came up from the valley below. As they were about to fight Our Lady appeared to Dom Pelayo without saying a word. When Pelayo turned away from her to see the Moors approaching and then turned back to Her to ask for help, She had disappeared and left behind a statue of Herself and the Christ Child dating back to the early Church fathers. Then the Christians saw angels on top of the other mountain pushing rocks and large boulders down on the Moors below until few were left alive and the Christians cleaned up the rest. From Covadonga the counter offensive against the Moors continued until many years later they were all pushed out of Portugal and Spain. This statue still stands in the same spot in the cave and the cross Pelayo made is in the Reliquarium in Oviedo Cathedral.

Our Lady appeared to help win a war not to give in to injustice. 

                                                                                                          Richard P. Salbato