Last week was a nightmarish week. Each day brought forth new violence, visited upon men and women of faith.
Attacks against Christians were carried out by both Boko Haram and the Islamic State. Stephen Hicks, a non-believer, shot and killed three young Muslims in North Carolina. Al Qaeda continues to terrorize people in Yemen, and in Copenhagen, a synagogue was the target of a gunman during a bat mitzvah.
In November 2012, then-Pope Benedict XVI spoke to members of INTERPOL regarding crime and terrorism. He said,
Terrorism, one of the most brutal forms of violence, sows hate, death and a desire for revenge. This phenomenon, with subversive strategies typical of some extremist organizations aimed at the destruction of property and at murder, has transformed itself into an obscure web of political complicity, with sophisticated technology, enormous financial resources and planning projects on a vast scale…
Benedict reminded those present that all members of a society have a role to play in ending violence:
To overcome violence is a task which must involve not only the institutions and organizations mentioned, but all of society: the family, educational institutions,
including schools and religious bodies, the means of social communication, as well as each and every citizen. Everyone has his or her particular responsibility in building a future of justice and peace.
It does not look like we are any closer today to a world of “justice and peace” than we were when Benedict spoke these words. Clearly, we all have work to do.