Pope Benedict shows way to peace, says atheist

religion | Apr 19, 2008 | By Nirmala Carvalho

- World leaders "must learn from the words pronounced yesterday by the pope at the UN, committing themselves to improving the situation of human rights in the world. Only in this way can we witness the birth of a new world, in which human dignity and the rights of man are protected and respected". This is the appeal issued to AsiaNews by Lenin Raghuvanshi, director of the Peoples Vigilance Committee on Human Rights and the winner, in 2007, of the prestigious Gwuangju prize for human rights.

The activist, an atheist and communist, adds: "Benedict XVI is admired not only by Christians, but also by people like me. Today is a day of great hope: the concepts that the pope expressed before the United Nations are the foundation of coexistence in the world. I believe that he is a courageous defender of human rights and a great advocate for the dignity of man".

The state of law, ethics, human rights "are the three founding principles of democracy. They are interdependent, and must be administered with justice and fairness. At the same time, the first of the human rights is the freedom of religion and conscience, an aspect of human life that must be left to the individual. No one can intervene in these spheres of conscience, much less the state".

The pope "expressed an enlightening concept: the preeminence of the common good. Equality cannot exist without fairness: this cannot be limited only to the just distribution of resources, but must also be reinforced by concrete and daily actions carried out by all. Without the common good, it is impossible to found a state of law".

The risk is that of "surrendering the field to anarchy, terrorism, and violence, elements that arise and are nurtured wherever human dignity is lacking. All politicians, diplomats, and governments must learn from what Benedict XVI said yesterday: peace in the world, a sustainable peace, can only be based upon justice, fairness, and prosperity".

Nirmala Carvalho writes for Asia News and appears here with permission.


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