Print Version    Email to Friend
Subduing evil with mercy

THE NOVEMBER 13 terrorist attacks on Paris have made the upcoming Jubilee Year of Mercy all the more relevant.

Mercy is fundamental to resolving violence. Mercy, rather than pity, allows lives to be linked with each other and bridges of peace to be built. In the fight against systematic violence, mercy must be proclaimed through dialogue and collaboration.

Other attacks are also threatening everyone’s safety, as well as putting thousands of people on the run.

The message of Pope Francis for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees in January next year is grounded in the spirit of mercy, which he says can address the problems faced by the refugees. The pope is encouraging attention to the gospel of mercy and saying no one can be indifferent to the plight of refugees.

In the wake of their increasing numbers, the Vatican secretary of state, Pietro Cardinal Parolin, told the French Catholic newspaper, La Croix, the Jubilee of Mercy is a good opportunity for Christians and Muslims to dialogue, because both believe in the mercy of the creator and treating others with mercy, rather than answering violence with violence.

The Church in Europe is urging local governments to respond to the pope’s appeal and welcome refugees in spite of initial hesitation. They are people persecuted in their home countries and have been forced to leave. Their wounds can only be healed with mercy and the pope is appealing to people to welcome them with the heart of the Good Samaritan.

The international community must address the roots of terrorism remembering that mercy and justice are two sides of the same coin. Churches in Europe and the United States of America have urged their governments to desist from violence. Long-term peace does not rely on swords and chariots, but on negotiation and dialogue.

Opposition springs from suspicion of refugees and new immigrants. It stirs up xenophobia hinders social harmony.

In the face of a disorientation in value systems, the Church must play a reconciliatory and prophetic role by building communication bridges and dispelling social indifference towards strangers. When religion is used by extremists as an excuse to perpetrate violence, it is important to use religion to clarify and promote dialogue.

The tide of Vietnamese refugees that flowed into Hong Kong several decades ago gave us a chance to seriously reflect on our relationship with our neighbours. Today, Hong Kong is also faced with an increasing number of asylum seekers from various countries.

Local Christians must behave like world citizens by witnessing to a spirit of tolerance. In recent years, the St. Vincent de Paul Society has not only built up considerable experience in providing material support, but also promoted tolerance by helping civil society to understand more about their difficulties.

Internationally, social unrest and even political violence may not be resolved in the short run. However, as Antoine Leiris, who mourned the death of his wife in Paris, said, “You want me to be afraid, to view my country people with mistrust, to sacrifice my liberty for my security. You lost.”

To Christians, this power to move forward comes from faith, but relies on mercy and forgiveness to overcome hatred. SE