Pope Francis: Unity, not uniformity, is the secret to peace

Written by Meghalaya Times. Posted in Editorial

Thomas Lim
Eighty-year-old Argentinian Pontiff - Pope Francis in a small, informal meeting with a number of religious leaders went to the heart of his message for Myanmar: Unity, not uniformity, is the secret to peace, as reported by Catholic News Service. The Pope was reacting to the Representatives of the Baptist, Anglican, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish and Muslim communities, as well as leaders from ecumenical organizations who briefly told him about their communities during the meeting November 28, 2017 at the archbishop’s residence in Yangon.

The Pontiff stated that although the vast majority of people in Myanmar are Buddhist, the country’s religious makeup is varied. Myanmar also has some 135 recognized ethnic groups and in the struggle for recognition and political power, religion often has been used to further the cause or highlight differences.
In this backdrop, United does not mean the same; unity is not uniformity, even within the same confession, Pope Francis told the world leaders that each one has its values, its riches and also its deficiencies. Let’s not be afraid of differences.
Whereas, today, the Pope said, there is a global trend toward uniformity, to doing everything the same,” but “that is killing humanity, which is cultural colonization.”
While the group meeting the Pope included representatives of the country’s Muslim community, there was no specific representation of the Rohingya Muslims, a group that has been subjected to severe restrictions and repression by the government. The Rohingya are not recognized as an ethnic group or as citizens. And the majority of the nation’s people consider them a threat to peace and harmony.
The Pontiff has closely observed the global behaviour, where every organization, state or institution advocates for Unity- which have specific demands like Unity of humanity globally so that there is no demarcation through boundaries, caste, religion, creed or politics.
The unity is to fight against social evils like human trafficking, corruption, slavery particularly child labour, together to eradicate the menace of drugs, addiction to intoxicating substances and of course to fight against incitement and infusing mistrust amongst mankind.
Under such confusion, the global moves have an inclination towards uniformity- where one religion has attempted ethnic cleansing, so the opposition religion or the victimized sectors made the similar attempt – Uniformity.
The taste bud and dressing sense indeed have rolled into one, where the westernized fashions have almost become uniform, where the people across the world have adopted uniformity, and as such have shed their ethnic attire, which is the individual identity as termed by Pope Francis as cultural colonization!
In an attempt to achieve uniformity, most of the youngsters have discarded the traditional and cultural lifestyle of their own, which is a dangerous trend – and is worse than the visible acts of Rohingya, allegedly as an attempt for ethnic cleansing.
The Pontiff with deep understanding of the world affairs and the recent turn of events across the globe has actually put forward the mantra for the world leaders to restore amity and synchronization with a simple attempt of unity, not uniformity, as the secret to peace and tranquillity.
Take Christianity being practiced in the North Easter region of India, there are various denominations, there are a few who worship and practice of offering as per their cultural and traditional lifestyle, and not adopting the likes practiced in Western countries which is an example of unity in Jesus Christ and not simply adopting a uniformity, which many indigenous tribals will not be associate with other customs.
In the world affairs too all should be united to fight against terrorism and other anti-social activities, and not simply attempting to maintain uniformity and not achieving the task, because ever individual community will have different approach even it is to eradicate terrorism and fight against anti social activities.


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