December 12, 2013
Pope highlights fraternity as ‘foundation and pathway’ to peace
Cites excessive inequality, ‘globalization of indifference’ as threats to peace
Urges all people to engage in dialogue, regard one another as brothers and sisters
WASHINGTON—Pope Francis’ first message for World Day of Peace offers a profound challenge to all people to see each other’s humanity and pursue dialogue and peace over war and conflict, said the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace. Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, welcomed the release of “Fraternity, the Foundation and Pathway to Peace,” December 12.
“Pope Francis offers a message both simple and profound: when we fail to recognize other people as our brothers and sisters, we destroy each other and ourselves,” Bishop Pates said. “This challenges everyone from governments and corporations to individuals and families in the course of our daily lives.”
“In God’s family, where all are sons and daughters of the same Father,” Pope Francis wrote, “there are no ‘disposable lives.’” The pope drew on the story of Cain and Abel in Genesis to illustrate that “we have an inherent calling to fraternity, but also the tragic capacity to betray that calling.”
The pope listed war, globalization, threats to religious freedom, human trafficking, economic disparity and abuses of the financial system as examples of fraternity breaking down and leading to violence against people.
“In disagreements, which are an unavoidable part of life, we should always remember that we are brothers and sisters, and therefore teach others and teach ourselves not to consider our neighbor as an enemy or as an adversary to be eliminated,” the pope wrote. “Give up the way of arms and go out to meet the other in dialogue, pardon and reconciliation, in order to rebuild justice, trust, and hope around you!”
The Vatican has posted the message, dated January 1, 2014, the celebration of World Day of Peace, online: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/francesco/messages/peace/documents/papa-francesco_20131208_messaggio-xlvii-giornata-mondiale-pace-2014_en.html
Keywords: Pope Francis, Bishop Richard E. Pates, USCCB, U.S. bishops, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, World Day of Peace message, Vatican, fraternity, globalization, human trafficking, religious liberty, war
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