November 13 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Conflict and the struggle to survive threaten our peace

This week’s editorial leader

Before long Advent will be upon us, a time of preparation and peace around the birth of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. In the spirit of unity, respect and reverence, this November many parishes throughout Scotland combined prayers for the Holy Souls with recognition and remembrance of the war dead. This did not rest easily, however, alongside party political wrangling over plans for the renewal of Trident.

Honouring those who paid the ultimate price in the pursuit of peace —in the face of accusations of neglecting the needs of former servicemen and women—yet earmarking billions for nuclear weapons presents a complex moral dichotomy. Both sides of the issue ask the question ‘have we learned nothing?’

In September Pope Francis condemned the doctrine of deterrence and called at the United Nations for the complete prohibition of nuclear weapons.

He also called for the ‘full application of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), in letter and spirit.” The NPT, entered into force in 1970, requires the parties of the treaty ‘to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to the cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament…’

It seems a fair observation to say that the five nuclear-armed countries party to the NPT—the US, Russia, UK, France and China—are not at present following either the letter or spirit of the treaty.

Conflict continues to scar our world today. Syrian refugees due to arrive in Scotland this month face hardships, among which the Scottish winter climate must rank highly but not as highly as potential backlashes. It can be difficult, as we all struggle to keep our families and homes together in times of economic hardship, to find it in our hearts and budgets to be generous to these people who have lost everything, including family members, to reach safety.

Scotland, and indeed the UK, does not have the best track record on welcoming or helping asylum seekers. Accommodation in Glasgow equipped and provided for newcomers has in the past been looted and vandalised. Some says this is in part understandable given the socially deprived areas refugees are often settled in. This belies the fact that it can be the people who appear to have the least to give             who make refugees the most welcome via our churches, schools and charities.

So let us pray for that peace we seek: Peace in our world, in our hearts, in our homes and in our communities.



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