With his Message for World Day of Peace 2017, Pope Francis has pointed out a fundamental challenge for peace: to shape our deepest feelings and values to non-violence, so that this attitude is “the style of our decisions, our relationships, our actions and politics in all of it’s forms, in our local environment and daily lives as well as in the world order”.
In the same Message he mentions the impressive testimony of men like Gandhi, Martin Luther King, or women like Leymah Gobwe, and many others who, throughout history, have borne great fruits of peace. The Church and the Christian communities, with their prayers and courageous actions, have also contributed to the development of non-violent strategies and to the promotion of peace in many countries. We name new examples of women from the current civil society who bear witness to actions stronger than violence.
On February 3rd, the General Commission for Justice and Peace, with the support of the Diocesan Commission of Madrid, organized a state-level conference on the human right to religious freedom, during World Interfaith Harmony Week.
Justice and Peace Europe wants to contribute to the ongoing debate on a pragmatic path for the European Union. In this way it presents its Concerted Action 2017 with the motto "Europe at the crossroads". If we want to revive the European project, we need to have a clear vision of its strengths and combine them with a public discourse at the European level that addresses its identity and future, as well as the values it represents. On the basis of this premise Justice and Peace Europe makes ten policy proposals which refer to, amongst other things, a common European system of asylum and migration, the development of a social rights agenda, trade policy, the impact of digitization, the future of the Eurozone and European efforts to combat climate change.
The back cover summarises the work of various groups in which we have participated in recent months, along with other ecclesial and social organizations: the Migrants with Rights platform, the Enlázate por la Justicia (Connect yourself for justice) initiative, the ecclesial group against Human Trafficking. Finally, we point out the recent events in the US that negatively affect the trade in conflict minerals.
We would also like to use this letter to invite you to the annual conference of the General Commission, which will be held in Madrid from March 31st to April 2nd. In the middle of the triennium dedicated to the Laudato si', the motto proposed by the Commission of Justice and Peace Madrid is from the campaign "If you take care of the planet, you fight poverty", of the Enlázate por la justicia (Connect yourself for justice) initiative. We look forward to your presence!
Isabel Cuenca Anaya