CrossroadsUNHumanAffairs2The Crossroads Culture Center held an event in New York, 5/1, with prominent UN diplomats, as part of their Human Affairs series.

Oscar De Rojas, former Director UN Financing for Development Office, moderated. The speakers were Tariq Al-Ansari, High Representative of the UN Alliance of Civilizations and John Klink, President International Catholic Migration Commission.

The evening’s theme can be distilled down to this comment by Mr. Al-Ansari: “In order for a ‘culture of peace’ to become a reality, religions must play a constructive role.” Tariq Al-Ansari, Qatar Foreign Ministry

Mr. Al-Ansari emphasized the need for mutual respect and the rule of law — with “Arab leaders engaging with one another.”

That sounds good, but many of the world’s leaders are not themselves playing a constructive role in bringing about a culture of peace. Some have conspired to overthrow Bashar al-Assad of Syria, as they did Gaddafi in Libya and Mubarak in Egypt. The arbitrary removal of recognized sovereign state governments, which in varying degrees the UN has condoned, makes the alliance of civilizations more like an alliance of gangsters.

Peace within and among peoples is all but impossible with a mindset of pride and utilitarian self-centeredness. Religious people, especially practitioners of Christianity, should understand a more truthful way to live, and hopefully are working for reforms that bring about a more just society — not joining with the wolves who are destroying nations so as to reap the spoils, while calling it ‘humaitarian intervention.’

OC asked the panel about the contradiction of UN officials undermining peace and stability (and their own charter) by supporting rebels against sovereign states, and then turning to religious leaders to bring about a ‘culture of peace.’ Mr. De Rojas responded by saying: “interesting point.”

If our Eucharistic worship is authentic, it must make us grow in awareness of the dignity of each person. The awareness of that dignity becomes the deepest motive of our relationship with our neighbor.

We must also become particularly sensitive to all human suffering and misery, to all injustice and wrong, and seek the way to redress them effectively. Let us learn to to discover with respect the truth about the inner self that becomes the dwelling place of God present in the Eucharist. Christ comes into the hearts of our brothers and sisters and visits their consciences. How the image of each and every one changes, when we become aware of the reality, when we make it the subject of our reflections! The sense of the Eucharistic Mystery leads us to a love for our neighbor, to a love for every human being. John Paul II, The Mystery and Worship of the Eucharist, 1980