Alberto Lo Presti, Director of the Igino Giordani Centre, reflects on some excerpts from Giordani's book on the uselessness of war.
Peace is the result of fraternity amongst the peoples, solidarity with the weakest, mutual respect. This is how a more just world is built, this is how war is set aside war as a barbaric undertaking that belongs to a dark period of human history. Giordani knew war: he had taken part in the first world war. He received a medal after he had been seriously wounded on the Austrian front. But it is not only the horror of blood and death that should put aside war as a means of solving international problems. War can be seen as something quite natural to those impoverished minds that imagine humankind as a machine in thirst of power, ready to launch out against any enemy to satisfy its dreams of power. Yet, there is nothing natural about inflicitng suffering, misery and death. Wars never produce wins, only defeats. As history teaches, and Giordani reminds us: the great problems that all wars leave behind are far more distressing than the ones that meant to be resolved by engaging in conflict. This is why he suggest that we put aside our arms and military sentiments, and prepare a peaceful order. Moreover, for those who believe that human beings are God’s children any offence against a neighbour should be kept far from us. How can one love God by making attempts against the life of His children?
A half century has gone by since Giordani wrote these texts, which are taken from L’inutilità della guerra (“The uselessness of War)”, but they could have been written for our own times that are threatened by such dangerous conflicts.
“War is large scale murder dressed up as some sort of sacred cult, like the sacrifices of the firstborn to the god, Baal.The purpose of those sacrifices was to instill terror with their rhetoric and the interests that were behind them. Once humankind makes some spiritual progress, war will also be filed away along cruel pagan rituals, superstitions, wizadry and barbarity. War is to humanity what illness is to health, sin to the soul: it is slaughter and destruction, infection of body and soul, individual and collectivity.”
“History confirms Christian reasoning, since the construction of weapons produces nothing but fear, mistrust and war. Those that say ‘If you want peace, prepare for war’ are false realists. You only need to open a book of history to see what the accumulation of arms and amunition leads to. Peace is difficult, but Christians are not naive: we want peace, not illusion. Peace is never going to just fall from Heaven all ready and nice. Peace is a patient process that we must carry out together. Peace is obtained with peace.”
“Only the fearful defend war. War is made because of fear. The fearful resort to insult and shooting, because of an instinct to be free. It takes courage – rational courage – to reach lasting peace.”
Alberto Lo Presti - L’inutilità della guerra, Città Nuova 2003 (pp. 7, 71-72, 83) - Source: focolare.prg