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In a recent address to the United Nations (UN), Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, permanent observer of the Holy See to the UN in Geneva, described land mines as “vile, murderous and useless.”

He criticized the use of land mines as a “wrong approach to security,” noting that “a large number of countries have realized that antipersonnel mines, besides their inhuman and devastating effects in the long run, are a useless arm. They give the illusion of an artificial security.” He suggested that the work towards the healing of populations devastated by conflict “is the best investment in building up true security and a durable peace.”

Archbishop Tomasi also emphasized the importance that the Holy See places on the Ottawa Convention, a United Nations agreement which bans the use and stockpiling of antipersonnel landmines, and also encourages previous users of landmines to clear them.

Source: ZENIT

Land Mines Facts

Discussion Questions
In what ways does the production and stock-piling of landmines stand in opposition to the “commitment to the universal common good” that Pope John Paul II often mentions?

Discuss the United States’ government production and use of landmines in conflict situations. What are the values underlying this “defense strategy?”

We are called to be peacemakers in the world. What are some ways in which we can address the issue of landmines?

Pope Paul VI, in his encyclical Populorum Progressio, writes, “Peace cannot be limited to a mere absence of war, the result of an ever precarious balance of forces. No, peace is something that is built up day after day, in the pursuit of an order intended by God, which implies a more perfect form of justice among people” (#76). How does the work towards the healing of populations devastated by conflict correspond to Pope Paul VI’s definition of peace?