Budapest’s Chain Bridge and St. Stephen’s Basilica

    Letter #114, 2022, Tuesday, October 11: Budapest    

    I am writing from Budapest, Hungary, where I have spent several days, and had several long and fruitful meetings which have given me much hope.

    ***

    In the Sermon on the Mount, which many commentators see as an outline of the “new law” brought by Jesus Christ — the New Covenant, the New Testament — Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.”

    The present circumstances of the world, including the repetition in recent days by many voices, including President Joe Biden in the US, that there is a real danger looming now of a nuclear war, require urgently the creation and development of a global moment of peacemakers — a global peace movement.

    In a conversation here this morning, I said to an old friend, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible for us, with all our limitations and weakness, to succeed in such a task. We do not have the power or means. But we can at least leave a small mark in history, that we raised our voices for peace.”

    “That is true,” said my friend. “But I wonder if God may not be pleased that we at least leave that mark, and leave the rest up to Him. That much at least seems within our power to do.”

    ***

    So, today, on the 60th anniversary of the start of the Second Vatican Council in 1962, and remembering that day so long ago, when I was eight years old and a member of a Catholic Church which was about to engage in a great transformation of many of its customs and practices, which still affect us today, I write from Budapest, on the banks of the Danube, on behalf of all those who are sorrowing over the terrible bloodshed that has taken place recently and especially in Ukraine — but also and in so many other places of conflict in our time — on behalf of all those who would become peacemakers, in search of a true and lasting peace which would be blessed by God and enjoyed by our children and their children for generations to come.

    The Christian who seeks peace is said by Christ in the Beatitudes to be blessed.

    And so we begin this search for peace.

    For the children.

    ***

    My flight to Rome is waiting.

    More soon. —RM

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