Celebrating World Day of Peace through fraternity
(Vatican Radio) ‘Fraternity: the Foundation and Pathway to Peace’ – that’s the title of Pope Francis’ Message for the World Day of Peace celebrated on January 1, 2014. This year’s Message for the annual Day of Peace was unveiled at a Vatican press conference early in December and contains many of the themes that the Holy Father has been developing over the past nine months of his pontificate.
Reiterating many of the themes contained in previous Peace Day Messages, the document explores the biblical understanding of fraternity, beginning with the Genesis story of Cain, who murders his brother Abel and is held accountable by God for his action. In a similar way, we Christians, as children of the same God, will be held accountable for our actions towards our brothers and sisters who suffer from poverty, conflicts, trafficking or corruption which, the message says, strikes at the very heart of our human dignity.
Echoing the words of his predecessors, Pope Francis appeals to all those involved in the use of weapons to work instead for disarmament and dialogue, starting with the urgent need for an end to the use of nuclear and chemical weapons.
The message also condemns the many forms of corruption and organized crime, as well as financial speculation, the tragedy of migrants, inhuman prison conditions and what the Pope calls ‘the abomination of human trafficking’.
Finally the message speaks of fraternity in terms of our responsible stewardship of nature and the earth’s resources. Insisting once again that it is possible to provide enough food to eliminate hunger in our world, the Pope says we must overcome attitudes of possession, manipulation and exploitation to ensure justice, equality and an end to the scandal of people dying of hunger.