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Peace requires building of inclusive society

HIROSHIMA (SE): “I am honoured to be with you solemnly to remember the 68th anniversary (of the atomic bombing) and to participate in the Ten Days of Peace,” the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Peter Cardinal Turkson, told a group of interreligious leaders on August 6, the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

“We represent the great religious and spiritual traditions of Asia,” he continued, “… as well as contemporary secularism. Each tradition can explain its vision as we come on pilgrimage here to a memorial of untold horror and destruction.”

He said that the Catholic tradition tells us that God made people for life, freedom and happiness, yet people spend much of their time suffering.

He named the big temptation as coping with this by regarding suffering as chastisement or fate, explaining that this is a senseless attitude and eventually defeats us.

He quoted Pope John Paul II as saying that the suffering brought on by war is the result of sin.

Then he quoted Pope Francis as adding that atomic power can cause the destruction of humanity, as it is a monster that can get out of hand.

He called passions of greed and hate the enemy of human freedom and happiness.

“Instead of excluding those who are deprived, let us meet their needs. Instead of avoiding those who suffer, let us accompany them. Instead of cursing what we ourselves suffer, let us offer it up for others,” he reflected.

He then challenged people to address the social situation and not to hide behind a veneer of violence.

“For no amount of peace-building will be able to last, nor will harmony and happiness be attained in a society that ignores, pushes to the margins or excludes a part of itself,” he quoted Pope Francis as saying.

“Peace-making must include and integrate,” he added.

Over 50,000 people gathered at the Peace Park in downtown Hiroshima to hear the bell toll for the around 100,000 people who died as a result of the bomb that fell on 6 August 1945.

The mayor of Hiroshima, Kazumi Matsui, said, “An atomic bomb steals the lives of innocent people and permanently alters the lives of those who survive.”


He explained that Japanese society shunned the survivors, because people were afraid of radiation, and this scar has been borne by the whole of society to this very day.

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