Pope Francis has recently written a letter to people of good will about world peace and justice. He
claims that the biggest obstacle to peace is the fact that there is so much indifference in the world.
He says that “personal dignity” and “interpersonal relationships” are the key elements from which
peace can be found. Lacking this we become less human and therefore the world becomes a place
where wars become more likely. Obviously what seems as a small matter, “personal dignity” can
become a major disruption as a “war”. Perhaps we should pay attention to what the pope is taking
There are different kinds of indifference amongst us. The first and probably the most important,
even though few seem to recognize this, is our indifference to God. We have begun to think that
we are the source and creators of ourselves, our lives and our society. Because of this we think
that we and our personal feelings are the most important issue in the world. Can you already see
how this alone can be a seed for a future conflict?
From this flows the next indifference- that to our neighbour. Despite the modern state of our
world, we can in this world have no concern for other peoples’ problems, This also can very soon
lead to conflicts when the problems we ignore in other people become intolerable to them.
We can also be totally indifferent to what is happening around us. Whether it’s in Ukraine, Africa ,
the Middle East or even in the poorer part of town. If we keep saying that as long as I am
comfortable, the rest of the world take care of itself. This eventually and probably sooner than
later leads to the problems that come to our door- i.e. refugees, street crime etc.
Indifference to the natural environment can and does lead to major world problems. If your
country is flooded, or stripped of vegetation , or is polluted to the extent that people have to
move, then there is a real potential for conflict if they cross borders.
We are celebrating the Year of Mercy. During this year we are asked to think how indifference can
show up negativity and how caring with compassion can change the world to the positive. Our
faith in Jesus Christ is actually the source of our strength to influence positive change.
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