PRESENTATION OF THE POPE'S MESSAGE FOR WORLD DAY OF PEACE
Vatican City, 14 December 2012 (VIS) - A press conference was held this morning in the Holy See Press Office to present Benedict XVI's Message for the 46th World Day of Peace, which will take place on 1 January with the theme "Blessed are the peacemakers". Participating in today's conference were Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson and Bishop Mario Toso S.D.B., respectively president and secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.
The cardinal referred first to the "concrete" nature of the document. "The title, drawn from the Gospel, would induce us to think of the Message as having a rather spiritual or, so to speak, theoretical nature", he said. "However, the Pope's message is very closely linked to reality. It states a fact - the existence, in the midst of conflicts, tension and violence, of numerous peacemakers; in the explanation of the Gospel beatitude it explains that this is a promise that is guaranteed, in that it is made by God and does not refer merely to the future but already finds fulfilment in this life. It clearly indicates the duties of peacemakers: they must promote life in its fullest expression, in its entirety and therefore in all the dimensions of the human person, and draws attention to urgent problems issues such as the correct vision of marriage, the right to conscientious objection, religious freedom, the issues of work and unemployment, the food crisis, the financial crisis, and the role of the family in education.
He then went on to emphasise the "positivity" of the Message which, "aside from opening the way to hope, reflects love for life and life in its completeness. Alongside the theme of the defence of life, the Pope highlights matters connected to justice, necessary for a worthwhile life, lived fully, or rather in which all people have the opportunity to develop their own potential".
A further characteristic of the text is its "educational and pedagogical perspective. ...This is an aspect which is always close to the heart of the Church, one of whose tasks is to 'form consciences'", the cardinal emphasised. "In this regard, the Pontiff calls for responsibility on the part of the various educational institutions who must form capable leaders and propose new economic and financial models. This is necessary to overcome the particularly grave situation the globalised world is currently facing, a phase of profound spiritual and moral crisis in which there are still bloody conflicts and numerous threats to peace".
Bishop Mario Toso observed that Benedict XVI's message is "an invitation to become peacemakers 'at three hundred and sixty degrees', in our entirety, protecting and implementing all the rights and duties of the individual and of communities".
He continued, "Typical of the Pontiff's view is the part of the Message in which he urges us not to erode social rights, foremost among which he includes the right to work, which is a fundamental rather than marginal right. This is in spite of the context of economic recession, provoked in part by the financial crisis which began in 2007, and ideologies of radical liberalism and technocracy according to which development can be achieved without social and democratic progress.
Without the defence and promotion of social rights - as recognised by liberals, communists, socialists and Catholics during the last century - civil and political rights cannot be adequately attained, and democracy itself - substantial, social and participatory - would be undermined.
"In summary, the Message promotes the growth of a human family that is not divided into groups and peoples in favour of life, and those who work for peace without equal passion for the defence of human life from conception to natural end. Peace is a common goal to be pursued as a community, to the full benefit of every human being and population", concluded the secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.
Source: V.I.S. -Vatican Information Service. www.vis.va