The vicar general gave the homily at the mass of 1 January 2022, celebrated by Cardinal Piat, and broadcast live from the curacy of the Cathedral of Saint-Louis. Referring to this year’s theme of dialogue as a way to build lasting peace, Jean Maurice Labour spoke about the lack of understanding of certain health restrictions. He even used the term “absurdities” which, according to him, stem from a lack of dialogue. People, according to him, could not understand why 50 persons could attend wedding and funerals in the church and only 10 for the masses.
Here is his homily in its entirety:
Jesus came to establish a kingdom of peace and justice. His discourse of the beatitudes that we have just heard has resounded for 2000 years as the charter of a kingdom of peace to be built which is incumbent upon us Christians, with our brothers and sisters of all religious affiliations or not. This charter shows us the paths of a true dialogue that builds peace: humility that I do not have all the truth and that the other has something to bring to me; courage to face conflict even to the point of being persecuted, cultivating in oneself the thirst for justice and purity of intentions, accepting the price to be paid even to the point of crying out in suffering.
Blessed are the peacemakers, they will be called SONS and DAUGHTERS of God. Peace is built by cultivating these virtues in us, for a long time, patiently, and peace is received at the end of a path as a reward, in other words as a GIFT. Dialogue is the essential condition for the construction of a lasting peace. Ena enn la paix qui pas durable quand mo dir: FICHE MOI LA PAIX; to plin moi, kos touzour mais laisse moi en paix. I’m not interested in the freedom of the press, but I’m totally indifferent to what you’re saying. Often in the family it happens: we lock ourselves in.
“Lasting peace,” Pope Francis tells us, “consists in creating and maintaining processes of mutual listening. The democratic space that builds peace in differences is nourished by institutionalized dialogue, therefore as a permanent practice and not only in times of crisis. This dialogue supposes many other virtues to be developed:
SOME KEY SECTORS OF THE DIFFICULT DIALOGUE IN SOCIETY
Essential but difficult dialogue in all sectors
The family is a place of generational interaction, a place where, through dialogue, we learn to become brothers and sisters in humanity. In the family, the basic cell of society, dialogue between parents and children, between young and old, and between generations remains an age-old problem. What can we say about the man/woman relationship, which remains difficult and leads to passionate dramas, to suicides in spite of good intentions: “for better or for worse”! with the increase in the number of divorces in spite of the “yes, I want it for better or for worse” of the wedding day.
EDUCATION: the place par excellence of the dialogue of transmission and creation of the future with the young generations. Recently shaken by difficulties of dialogue between private colleges and the authorities.
IN PUBLIC LIFE:
Government authorities and civil society,
The pitfalls of the dialogue between the Civil Society and the authorities in power, were highlighted when our country had undergone the two shocks of the wreck of the Wakashio and the first wave of the pandemic of the Covd 19 in 2020, with important demonstrations of the civil society demanding explanations. This civil society that does not feel listened to, understood.
Between Majority and opposition.
Our Assembly says “august” should be the temple of the dialogue. It has given us during these two years, more than other periods, the spectacle of the difficult debate in a respectful dialogue between the majority and the parliamentary opposition. Perpetually shaken by walk-outs and rantings from both sides of the chamber, the people suffer to see their most worthy representatives display glaring examples of the impossible (?) adversarial dialogue of a suffering democracy. “As the paralysis of polarization sets in, public life is reduced to a squabble between factions in search of supremacy.”(page 116) in “A Time for Change.
Public sector and private sector.
These two major players in economic life have met often: they reach consensus after bitter discussions between economic interests and service to the people. It is more difficult to federate the best skills to face the pandemic and its unprecedented consequences, for which no one can claim to have the solution.
In the world of culture
Mr. Serge Rivière, the head of the English Speaking Union declares (lexpress of December 27, 2021): there is too much arrogance in the academic world. Artists, singers, writers, are the great actors of the construction of values and counter-values which condition the capacity of dialogue. Komiko Finn shows with humor the difficulties of dialogue in society and in the family. Who among us has not appreciated the beautiful productions of songs that soothe, pieces of poetry that cultivate the values of peace, gentleness, Rudyard Kippling “If you can meet with triumph and disacter and treat those two impostors just the same, if you can walk with kings and still keep the common touch. You’ll be a man my son.
In the Church, ancestral is the difficulty of dialogue between an elitist, male clergy and the laity of the base and female. Clericalism is a system of thought and practice of non-dialogue since the cleric is Konn tou, fer tou, everywhere !!!! The difficulty of dialogue runs through the Church between progressives and conservatives on themes such as spirituality and social commitment, celibacy of priests, etc. Since Paul VI launched the synodal structure in the Church, until Pope Francis who is launching a synod to open up a dialogue in all directions, we cannot say that we are perfect in this area
Let’s humbly admit it, a true inter-religious dialogue on the fundamentals of convictions remains very difficult even if representatives of religions meet from time to time on platforms to do social work. A certain progress has been made in the ecumenical dialogue between the churches of Christian denominations, but behind this there is criticism of the others. With the other Eastern religions, a deeper dialogue remains difficult.
The media, audio-visual and written, major actors of social dialogue.
The explosion of the media resources available to 7 billion neighbors, coupled with the immense need for expression, favors emotion over reason. The challenge for social dialogue in this field is to filter the spontaneous blah, blah, blah that breaks out every day on the networks and radios in order to detect the real issues at stake in order to reach a consensus on the essentials,
On the one hand, the misuse of freedom of expression, on the other hand the dictatorial temptation to muzzle this freedom in the name of democracy. Mr. De L’Estrac, an important actor involved in the media, denounces the inability of press groups to get together to bring about self-regulation of freedom of expression.
The inner dialogue
This requirement of peace-building dialogue in the social sphere (political, family, ecclesial), also applies to the interior of thought and leads to inner peace even in the midst of conflicts.
In other words, a dialogue that is not only external but internal to thought. A fruitful thought says Pope Francis, in his book: “A time to change”, page 86 “a fruitful thought must always remain unfinished in order to leave room for further development. Pope Francis says that he has learned not to demand absolute certainties in everything, a sign of a restless mind.
To make dialogue within us that which at first appears to be opposed, leads to a superior truth: this is the path of paradoxes. In this inner posture, conflicts become places of fruitfulness that lead to inner peace “…by embracing what often seem at first sight to be contradictory truths, and by trusting this benevolent light to guide us, we end up seeing the greater truth that surpasses us. I like to think that we don’t possess the truth as much as the truth possesses us, constantly drawing us in through beauty and goodness” … which leads to peace. True and lasting peace is nourished by well-managed conflicts. ( to the point of being persecuted for justice and truth ) as the Gospel says. A peace that is received… that is given to us at the end of the difficult path of realism, of the complexity of the problems and not a superficial euphoric peace. (everyone is beautiful, everyone is nice.) ena dimouna move nou bizin manz ar zot. …
Obstacles to dialogue.
- Emotional blackmail. Using the emotion of suffering to force a person to accept an argument or a decision.
- Polarization: page 116(oc.): a paralysis of dialogue that is reduced to a feud between factions seeking political or economic supremacy, emotional and even domestic violence. This paralysis is often found in government-opposition relations. It can also be found in family, male/female or even inter-generational relations.
- Self-referential authoritarianism. Taking refuge behind an authority of knowledge or hierarchy by devaluing the expression of the other and thus excluding his arguments. “You have nothing to teach me”.
- Not listening empathetically by devaluing the other.
- Last minute consultations to manage a crisis. Reactive listening instead of proactive listening.
Qualities and techniques that promote constructive dialogue:
- Reasoned argumentation (Monique Carto-Sperber) quoted by Eric Ng in ‘Express of December 22.
- Empathy. Empathic listening allows the speaker to express the best of himself. It questions to help the other to formulate his opinion.
- Humility. I do not possess the whole truth. The other person has a part of this truth which is always in movement…never a fixed possession.
- The practice of contraposition in place of contradiction (page 118). To make the opposites interact in a fertile and creative tension.(page 119 in UTPC). The truth is not or white or black. It is often below. And white in some cases And black in others.
- 5. Proactive dialogue as a regular and instituted practice to avoid the pitfalls of reactive management of difficulties.
THE CONSEQUENCES OF LACK OF DIALOGUE :
The lack of dialogue leads to this absurdity of the censorship of the message of the cardinal as well as the inconsistency in the sanitary measures not more than 10 in the places of worship capable of containing 2 to 500 people in distance, the contradiction between the 50 people admitted in the burials and weddings in the places of worship prohibited to more than 10. We have suffered a lot. We have been law abiding citizens. we are and we want to remain partners of the authorities in place. Not rode end but claiming our rights.
(Both the speaker and the listener must develop an empathetic and benevolent openness and not a suspicious and distrustful blockage.
MY WISHES FOR THE YEAR 2022
That true, sincere and intelligent dialogue, contradictory, if necessary, inhabit all our individual and family meetings. May it inhabit all the institutions of our Republic: the civil service, the parastatals, the legislature and the judiciary, the political parties.
In short, may the Mauritius we love be reborn from the ashes of Covid, the one we want to build with the sweat of our dialogues.