Peace and Reconciliation Initiatives from the Basque Country II
Ethics in the service of peace
Aitor Kamiruaga Mieza, cmf.
General Director of Claret Larraona School
Like all human proposals, the peaceful construction of social reality can be contemplated from different perspectives, being aware of the elements that shape our worldview. Knowing the sources of inspiration and the approach to the reading criteria for the moral doctrine on peace allows us to offer the essential elements for constructing a peaceful coexistence.
To understand the scope of this proposal, it is necessary, as a first approach, to offer the elements that configure the concreteness of the ethical criteria for peace. These considerations can be considered as aprioristic expressions, that is, as the basis of ethical thought, without which the legitimacy of a proposal framed within the Catholic social doctrine could not be sustained.
To build a peaceful coexistence in the Basque Country, it is necessary to express the will to want and to make peace. It is a principle that cannot be ignored if it is not to be built on emptiness. On occasions, it has become clear that the different social and ideological options have the desire to live in peace as a common element and the commitment to build that peace. This conviction, expressed through concrete commitments, allows for rapprochement and dialogue between the various positions so that each option can contribute the best of itself in elaborating the criteria on which this peaceful future must be based.
A second option, which is a manifestation of the Christian faith, is the consideration that peace is a gift of God. The complete and happy fulfillment of the human being has a source of inspiration; God has called what did not exist to life, placing the human being at the center of a work that, from the beginning, reflected the very goodness of God. There is an expression, autonomous theonomy, which expresses the relationship established between God and humanity. The human being needs the grace of God to reach his entire vocation, to be the image and likeness of God; however, the same creator has granted him the freedom to choose what leads him or leads him away from the will of God.
Together with the above, we are offered the idea that the full attainment of peace is a utopia that begins to be realized in our concrete reality. Christian eschatology admits that the fullness of the human vocation comes through the victory of the resurrection when all human existence is transformed according to the salvific will of God. To expect fullness in a future for which we are not sure of the day or the hour is neither an evasive consideration nor an invitation to disinterest in constructing a reality that expresses God’s love. The “already yes, but not yet” call that the Christian discovers to the concrete commitment to realize the Kingdom of God in this world. In our world, we taste in advance what, in the resurrection, we will experience fullness.
A fourth element is that the Christian commitment to solidarity with reality is achieved through the efficacy of ethical values. The choice of ends and means requires their legitimacy as builders of authentic human existence. Not just any lot or any means can access the claims of legitimacy. Human rationality must discover what contributes to respect for the human dignity of every person. Ethical norms, the concretization of what is considered a value, express that the ends and means intended by humanity are endorsed by human reason. To pretend to disregard ethical values would lead human beings to the law of the jungle, where instinct and force are considered solid criteria for action.
We must repeatedly insist on the commitment of every Christian, always respecting freedom and the Church’s responsibility for its peacemaking amid society. On the other hand, it must be recognized with all humility that the Christian faith does not hold the patent on peace-building. In this sense, Christian commitment is carried out in collaboration with all people of goodwill, who commit their best efforts and desires so that the longed-for peace may become more and more present. Christians are not the only ones who strive for the peaceful construction of society; therefore, it is an invitation to co-responsibility with all citizens, whatever their ideology, who are attentive to intervene in the social dialogue and to be able to contribute what is authentically evangelical.
Bearing in mind these five preceding considerations, we will set out the ethical criteria that should underpin the peaceful construction of the Basque Country. We have tried to gather them through three great expressions that concretize what Pope John XIII proposed as the title of his famous encyclical Pacem in Terris, addressed to peaceful international coexistence: Peace among all peoples, which must be based on truth, justice, and love and freedom.
Aitor Kamiruaga Mieza, cmf.