By Christopher Wells
“Peace be to this house!” In his greeting to the world for the 52nd World Day of Peace, Pope Francis takes up the words proposed by Christ in the Gospel. The Holy Father notes that “the ‘house’ of which Jesus speaks is every family, community, country, and continent.”
At the service of peace
In his message for the World Day of Peace, the Pope reflects on the role of “good politics at the service of peace.” Those who hold political office, he says, must exercise their office in service to others, basing their work on the foundation of charity and human virtues.
Warning against vices of politics
At the same time, Pope Francis warns of the vices that can afflict politics, including corruption, xenophobia, racism, lack of concern for the environment, and contempt for exiles.
“When the exercise of political power aims only at protecting the interests of a few privileged individuals, the future is compromised and young people can be tempted to lose confidence,” the Pope writes. He encourages politics to “foster the talents of young people and their aspirations” in order to promote peace, noting that “Everyone can contribute his or her stone to help build the common home.”
The basis of peace
The Holy Father repudiates a politics of intimidation and fear, and denounces “the uncontrolled proliferation of arms.” Peace, he insists, is based on respect for each person… respect for the law and the common good, on respect for the environment” as well as “the moral tradition inherited from past generations.”
A challenge to be taken up anew
In conclusion, Pope Francis says that peace “is the fruit of a great political project grounded in the mutual responsibility and interdependence of human beings.” But, he says, “it is also a challenge that demands to be taken up ever anew” – a challenge that “entails a conversion of heart and soul.”
Follow the link to read the full text of Pope Francis' Message for the Celebration of the 52nd World Day of Peace.