Pope sees educating youth as key to ending anti-Christian violence
Pope Benedict XVI. Credit: Mazur
Pope Benedict XVI. Credit: Mazur
By David Kerr

.- In a bid to end violence against Christians and other religions, Pope Benedict XVI used a Jan. 13 speech to Italian police to call for educating young people in the true meaning of justice and peace.

“Even the past year, unfortunately, was marked by violence and intolerance,” he said in the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace on Jan 13.

“Frequently, in different parts of the world, the object of reprisals and attacks were Christians, who paid with their lives for their adherence to Christ and to the Church.”

The Pope made his comments to a gathering of those Italian state police who are charged with patrolling and protecting St. Peter’s Square and the Vatican.

The Pope said that while young people often hear the words “justice” and “peace” being mentioned, not enough is done to explain what the terms really mean.

“Justice,” he explained, “is not a mere human convention.” If it is viewed as such, he added, it can end up being dominated and subverted by the “criteria of utility, profit and material possession.” Pope Benedict said that when justice is corrupted in this way, the value and dignity of people can be “trampled underfoot.”

In reality, justice is a virtue that guides the human will “prompting us to give others what is due to them by reason of their existence and their actions,” he said.

Similarly, “peace” is not merely defined as the “absence of war, or the result of man’s actions to avoid conflict.”

Instead, it is primarily “a gift of God which must be implored with faith, and which has the way to its fulfillment in Jesus.” Therefore, “true peace” must be “constructed day after day with compassion, solidarity, fraternity and collaboration on everyone’s part,” the Pope said.

The Pope’s comments reflected his message earlier this month when he dedicated the Church’s 45th World Day of Peace on New Year’s Day to the education of the young in justice and peace.

He concluded his remarks today by holding up the police officers present as “true promoters of justice and sincere builders of peace,” and commending all present to Mary “the Mother of God, Queen of Peace.”

“To her we entrust this year of 2012, that everyone may live in mutual respect and strive after the common good, in the hope that no act of violence will be committed in the name of God, supreme guarantor of justice and peace.”

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