• Today's Daily Devotion
A View From France
IN 1967 Canon Jean-Marie Aubert, a French priest, wrote a carefully reasoned essay on his perspective of the Vietnam War. He put the war in a larger context, relating it to ...

A View from France

The French priest then turned to those most directly affected by the hostilities, the Vietnamese people themselves. For their sake, he called for an immediate cessation of hostilities. However, having made this plea, he explained that a cease-fire would not be the ultimate solution. He reiterated the words of the Vatican Council: “Peace is not the pure absence of war,” and acknowledged the difficulties that lay ahead: “It is really too simple, when thousands of miles away, to militate for the immediate withdrawal of American troops from Vietnam; even if their presence leaves us skeptical and is somewhat improper, what other presence would follow it?” The French priest at least voiced some degree of caution about the long-term effect of a Communist takeover of South Vietnam. He also acknowledged his own country’s role in the conflict: “We Frenchmen cannot consider ourselves strangers in this debate either; we cannot forget our own original responsibilities.”

In concluding his essay, Aubert wisely turned to God for the ultimate answer about peace in Vietnam and the world:

If it is the love of Christ that moves our hearts, and if we have faith in the omnipotence of our Father, then, faced with the challenge that the world throws down to us . . . we can only prostrate ourselves at the foot of the Cross and raise our ardent prayer to heaven.

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