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Pope Francis \ Documents

Overcome indifference and win peace: 2016 Peace Day Message

Pope Francis (file photo) - AFP

Pope Francis (file photo) - AFP

15/12/2015 12:53

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Tuesday issued his message for the World Day of Peace, 1 Jan 2016. The theme of the Message is: “Overcome indifference and win peace.”

You can find the full text of the Pope's message for the World Day of Peace here. 

Listen to Ann Schneible's report: 

In the message, dated 8 Dec 2015, the Pope acknowledged the various forms of war, terrorism, and persecution present in today’s world, but said there is reason to hope. He cited several events over the course of the year 2015, including the various initiatives confronting climate change, the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, and the Jubilee of Mercy.

Referencing the theme of the message, the Holy Father then highlighted various forms of indifference in society. First, there is indifference to God, which in turn leads to indifference to one’s neighbour and subsequently to the environment.

Pope Francis also addressed what he referred to as an “indifference to mercy,” as seen with the Genesis account of Cain murdering his brother Abel. In contrast, God intervenes, the message reads: “He sees, hears, comes down, and delivers. God does not remain indifferent. He is attentive and He acts.”

“Mercy is the heart of God,” the Pope writes, and therefore must be the heart of all His children.

Pope Francis said we are called to “compassion, love, mercy and solidarity” in our relationships with one another. He added that “the conversion of our hearts” is needed for us to become “open to others in authentic solidarity.” The Pope called for the building of a culture of solidarity and mercy in order to overcome indifference.

This begins with families, which are the “first place where the values of love, fraternity, togetherness and sharing, concern and care for others are lived out and handed on.” He spoke also of the role of teachers, and communicators. The Pope added that communicators in particular should be “mindful” of how they obtain and disseminate information, saying their methods should always be “legally and morally admissible.”

Pope Francis went on to say that peace is the fruit of a culture of solidarity, mercy, and compassion.

It is also a sign of the Jubilee of Mercy, which began 8 Dec, in which all are called to recognize indifference, and “improve the world around us.”

The Holy Father said these efforts begin with our families, neighbours, and places of employment. They extend to civil society’s care for vulnerable persons, such as “prisoners, migrants, the unemployed, and the infirm.”

On the subject of migrants, the Pope asked that legislation on migration be reviewed, in a way that facilitates their integration into society, with special attention given to legal residency in order to avoid criminal behaviour.

Pope Francis appealed to national leaders to offer assistance to men and women suffering from lack of work, land, and lodging.

The Pope concluded by entrusting the reflections contained in the message to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

15/12/2015 12:53