Justice, Peace, Integrity<br /> of Creation
Justice, Peace, Integrity<br /> of Creation
Justice, Peace, Integrity<br /> of Creation
Justice, Peace, Integrity<br /> of Creation
Justice, Peace, Integrity<br /> of Creation

We are all walking on wrong roads

Osservatore Romano 30.05.2022 David Maria Turoldo Translated by: Jpic-jp.org

In 1967, Father Turoldo participated in a round table organised by the Culture Office of the Christian Democrats’ Provincial Committee in Milan. Some excerpts from his speech were published in the book 'David Maria Turoldo. La sfida della pace', edited by Elena Gandolfi (Bellavite Editore, 2003) and remain topical, although the perspective has changed a great deal since then. Violence, war, abuses of power sometimes start from those who feel oppressed as a means of vindication. Pope Francis warned, if the oppressed use the tools of the oppressor, they will never arrive at freedom, they will simply pass on the other side.

I understand, Lord. No one can give me peace. It is useless for me to hope. Governments, states, continents need peace too and they are not capable of it. And they are all walking down the wrong paths. They think that peace can be achieved with weapons, instilling fear in other states and other continents. And in the meantime, they arm themselves, and study ever more powerful and deadly systems. Everyone wants to be strong. They say: only a strong man can command respect and peace. As if peace were a matter of imposition and not of love. I have never seen that there is peace this way. This is only an imbalance of terror: another way to be enslaved; apparently in a civilised way. Instead, it is barbarity like all other barbarities. In fact, the stronger is saying to the weaker: woe if you move! And it does not matter that perhaps the situation of the weak is unbearable, unjust, and humiliating. It does not matter that it is, for example, hunger or my condition as a black man that drives me to absurd gestures.

But it will come, men, it will come - and it is not far off: for this I pray and hope - that day when the black ocean of misery and pain will set in motion, will come out of its confines with the roar of despair. That wrath ocean of the poor, the oppressed, the disappointed! An ocean mysteriously still calm. But until when? Because it cannot last like this.

Now the consciousness is ripening in depth and in silence; but then it will erupt and then it will be more night than night. Then he who is in the fields will not come home to greet his mother; and he who is on the terrace will not come down to get his cloak; and he who is on the road will not even have time to say goodbye to a friend. Then "two shall stand at the same millstone..." (Luke 17:35; Mark 3:15-16): your word, Lord! Impossible that it will not come true.

Then the ocean of the poor will overflow as if the earth were turned upside down, shaken from the foundations. All right: the powerful will kill many of us. But many of them will be killed too.

No, in this way of oppression and terror there can be no peace.

No, no one can either kill an idea. No one can eradicate freedom from the heart of man: at least I will always have the freedom to die. For many times it is better, worth more to die than to live.

No, it will not even be necessary for the poor to wage war: it will be enough for them to set out, to line the roads. All the roads would be one endless snake: one immense procession. There would not even be room to move a single car; and no tank could crush them. For it would be a snake whose head or heart no one would know. It would be enough for China, for example, China alone to set out: there should be killing for years and years and years.

Let it get on its way! China does not need atomic weapons (this is one of its weaknesses). I mean, all it needs is for the ocean to get out of its borders; we have seen what floods are: then our technology and our science and our organisational capacity are worth nothing.

I could also pray like this: China, set out, just walk; walk the deserts of Asia; by the millions press the borders. Then we will see what our borders are worth. I could say: India, Africa, and the negroes of America, and all of you, O criollos of the thousand countries, get together: hedge kilometres on the railroads, on the squares of the powerful capitals, then we will see what the power of these capitals is worth.

Even if this does not happen, this is not peace. Peace has nothing to do with force. This does not happen because it is not yet time, because an Other, someone, you, Lord, do not allow it; and you wait (but until when?) for men to learn that it is not right, it is not right for it to last like this. Simply you want us to learn it for ourselves: through time and in other ways.

I see, this is fake peace: indeed, not even fake peace. Peace: where? and for whom? Is it peace because you don't die here, but they die in Vietnam? Is it peace because the niggers stay in the locations of South Africa and we can roam free from Cape Town to Rome? Is it peace because here we play and dance and sing, while in the Congo, in Cairo, or in Amman, they weep helplessly and in despair? And in Angola and Mozambique and the Americas they only think about how to take revenge, how to organise more guerrilla warfare for now?

This is not peace. I want to be a Christian, O Lord. I cannot, it is not right to accept this situation. I have understood: peace is not of this world; it may be in the world, but it is not of the world. It is like your kingdom: it is here, it is there, it is who knows where. But it is not of the world. Neither is it of any institution. No man can say where peace dwells. There is not a house of peace and a house of war. Today there can be peace and tomorrow war in the same house, in the same country. Some countries are not countries of peace, just because they do not do war: they may be the centres of distant wars; countries of golden selfishness and mysterious hotbeds of revolt who knows where.

The earth is one. Humanity is one. Therefore, one cannot be ‘feel good and the other feel bad’.

Peace is not anyone's monopoly, nor can it be the result of human systems. Proof of this is that the world is not capable of giving itself peace once and for all. Nor is man a subject of permanent peace. I can be at peace today, but what about tomorrow? All it takes is one word, one gesture that I consider unjust, for my peace to be shattered. There is nothing more fragile, more uncertain, more everyday than peace. Offended friendships, interests that one thinks are trampled upon, dark moods of blood (who knows what we hide in blood!); and then above all 'the stuff'.

So, each of us is a subject of war? Yes, in each of us there is the germ of war. Indeed, the great war, the hot war, is but the sum of all individual wars, in every war that broods in the heart of every man. Every war begins with each one of us. While peace cannot begin with any one of us. For peace is greater than man. We all come from the forest, and in the forest, there is no peace.

I understand, Lord, peace belongs to your messianic kingdom. You are the beginning, the source, the land of peace. Without you there can be no peace either on earth or within the heart of any man. And where there is a man of peace, there you are, Lord, there is your true home, my God. "I give you my peace, I leave you my peace, not as the world gives it to you, I give it to you" (John 14:27). The world, man, does not even know what peace is. Peace is you, and you alone, Lord.

The world, man, has its own logic, and peace is not the result of any logic.

For example, until we are not all poor, all equally poor, all freely poor, poor out of love, made poor to help the poor, there can be no peace.

For example, as long as we do not forgive, as long as we do not accept even dying - out of love for our brothers - as long as we do not allow ourself even to be killed, if necessary, instead of taking revenge, there can be no peace; it is another way of being poor: poor and free from our own self, either men or nation that we are.

For example, as long as man does not free himself even from his own culture, from all human ideologies, and does not think that everyone is a man who has the right to believe according to his conscience, with respect for every man, there can be no peace on earth. A third form of being poor and free: this applies even to the Church, to every church, and to every religious denomination. Otherwise, even the church can be a hotbed of war. For, religious wars have always been the fiercest. Indeed, war is nothing but the religion of the evil one. That is why Satan is murderous from the beginning.

For example, there can be no peace as long as you try not to make war only out of fear, out of the terror of dying. It means that you do not yet want peace, but that you simply fear war.

Peace is an absolute good, the only good that must be desired for its own sake. For only then are you free, truly willing and available for peace. Otherwise, if you were not afraid, would you then make war? Now, everyone is afraid: it is not that they want peace. Only this man who is free from all fears is a child of your peace, O Lord.

You see, we all walk on wrong paths.

See, Camminiamo tutti su strade sbagliate

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