.- More than anything else, the path to peace involves “respect for human life in all its many aspects,” Pope Benedict XVI said in his message for the annual World Day of Peace.
“At the birth of Jesus, the angels proclaim the message ‘glory to God on high, and on earth peace to men of good will.’ With the birth of the savior, peace was wished for the earth, for humanity,” Cardinal Peter K. Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, remarked to CNA Dec. 14.
“Peace was offered and declared for humanity. My hope for next year is that this becomes real for humanity, that humanity begins more and more to realize the peace that was declared and announced at the birth of the Lord.”
The World Day of Peace is celebrated each year on Jan. 1, but the Pope usually releases his message for occasion in advance, as he did today. This year’s celebration will be the 46th time the day has been observed since it was established by Pope Paul VI.
“The many different efforts at peacemaking which abound in our world testify to mankind’s innate vocation to peace,” Pope Benedict wrote in his message for the coming year, entitled “Blessed are the Peacemakers.”
He also pointed out that in “every person the desire for peace is an essential aspiration which coincides in a certain way with the desire for a full, happy and successful human life.”
“The desire for peace corresponds to a fundamental moral principle, namely, the duty and right to an integral social and communitarian development, which is part of God’s plan for mankind.”
Cardinal Turkson reflected on how peace is experienced “always in communion with God. There's a transcendent part of it. Related to and in communion with God, we seek to undertake this venture on earth.”
Pope Benedict underscored the same theme when he said that denying “the true nature of human beings … his intrinsic capacity to know the true and the good and, ultimately, to know God Himself, jeopardizes peacemaking.”
“Without the truth about man inscribed by the Creator in the human heart,” he wrote, “freedom and love become debased, and justice loses the ground of its exercise.”
“The path to the attainment of the common good and to peace is above all that of respect for human life in all its many aspects, beginning with its conception, through its development and up to its natural end,” he stated.
“True peacemakers, then, are those who love, defend and promote human life in all its dimensions, personal, communitarian and transcendent.”
The Pope also took up peace and its relationship with economies around the world.
Economic models, he said, must be based on solidarity and the common good rather than profit maximization.
Pope Benedict’s message finished by saying that teaching on peace is needed, so that there will be a greater orientation to good will, forgiveness, and reconciliation.
His full message can be found at: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/messages/peace/documents/hf_ben-xvi_mes_20121208_xlvi-world-day-peace_en.html