Pope Francis’ message for the Jan. 1, 2014 World Day of Peace is that living a life of fraternity can lead to peace for a world struggling with many tragedies.
“In the face of the many tragedies that afflict the family of nations – poverty, hunger, underdevelopment, conflicts, migrations, pollution, inequalities, injustice, organized crime, fundamentalisms – fraternity is the foundation and the pathway to peace,” says a July 31 Vatican announcement on the theme for the 47th World Day of Peace.
The choice of “Fraternity, the foundation and pathway to peace” as the theme for his first Day of Peace echoes the message of solidarity that Pope Francis has already made a hallmark of his papacy.
“Fraternity,” says the communiqué, “is a dowry that every man and every woman brings with himself or herself as a human being, as a child of the one Father.”
The Vatican statement also underscores that in modern society the predominant “culture of personal well-being” leads to “a loss of the sense of responsibility and fraternal relationship.”
“Others, rather than being ‘like us,’ appear more as antagonists or enemies and are often treated as objects. Not uncommonly, the poor and needy are regarded as a ‘burden,’ a hindrance to development. At most, they are considered as recipients of aid or compassionate assistance,” it says.
The announcement also underscores how living a life based in fraternity is “a gift and task that comes from God the Father.”
It “urges us to be in solidarity against inequality and poverty that undermine the social fabric, to take care of every person, especially the weakest and most defenseless, to love him or her as oneself, with the very heart of Jesus Christ.”
“In a world that is constantly growing more interdependent,” the statement notes, “the good of fraternity is one that we cannot do without.”
“It serves to defeat the spread of the globalization of indifference to which Pope Francis has frequently referred.”
Instead, the communiqué emphasizes that the Holy Father is calling for a “globalization of fraternity” which leaves its mark on “every aspect of life, including the economy, finance, civil society, politics, research, development, public and cultural institutions.”