Fratelli Tutti 226: Starting Anew From The Truth

Two paragraphs to look at “Starting Anew From The Truth.” It doesn’t seem enough to me.

226. Renewed encounter does not mean returning to a time prior to conflicts. All of us change over time. Pain and conflict transform us.

This is a key insight, right off the bat. We nurture our hurts, and we often look back. I remember my biggest disappointment growing up was perhaps my mother’s, mainly. Why couldn’t I be as I was when I was two, three years old? I think I became more independent, more self-motivated–sometimes that is disturbing to a first-time parent. Progress transforms us–including that pain and conflict. As a married person, I see that my disagreements with my wife have actually strengthened our marriage in some ways. We can’t go back, but we can find mutual acceptance and understanding going forward. It seems this would work on larger scales, in our communities and among nations and in between.

We no longer have use for empty diplomacy, dissimulation, double-speak, hidden agendas and good manners that mask reality. Those who were fierce enemies have to speak from the stark and clear truth. They have to learn how to cultivate a penitential memory, one that can accept the past in order not to cloud the future with their own regrets, problems and plans. Only by basing themselves on the historical truth of events will they be able to make a broad and persevering effort to understand one another and to strive for a new synthesis for the good of all.

Certainly, this flies in the face of those who would prefer to whitewash history and smooth out the rough patches.

Can hope ever overcome vengeance?

Every “peace process requires enduring commitment. It is a patient effort to seek truth and justice, to honor the memory of victims and to open the way, step by step, to a shared hope stronger than the desire for vengeance”.[Message for the 2020 World Day of Peace(8 December 2019), 2: L’Osservatore Romano, 13 December 2019, p. 8]

African bishops offer a thought:

As the Bishops of the Congo have said with regard to one recurring conflict: “Peace agreements on paper will not be enough. We will have to go further, by respecting the demands of truth regarding the origins of this recurring crisis. The people have the right to know what happened”.[Episcopal Conference of the Congo, Message au Peuple de Dieu et aux femmes et aux hommes de bonne volonté (9 May 2018)

And yet, truth is difficult. We struggle to handle it well in our own lives. Yet there is where it must start.

All citations of Fratelli Tutti (which can be found on this link) are © Copyright – Libreria Editrice Vaticana

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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