"Yet families need to be empowered to carry out this vital and indispensable task," he said.
At a press conference presenting the peace message, Cardinal Peter Turkson, prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, underlined that Pope Francis decided to focus on a "culture of care" in this year's peace message because of the coronavirus pandemic, which aggravated deeply interrelated crises involving food, climate, the economy, and migration.
Pope Francis began his message for the World Day of Peace by saying that he had been thinking especially for all those who lost family members or loved ones, and all who lost their jobs in 2020.
He also paid tribute to all the physicians, nurses, pharmacists, researchers, volunteers, chaplains, and hospital personnel who "have made and are continuing to make, great sacrifices to be present to the sick, to alleviate their sufferings and to save their lives."
"Indeed, many of them have died in the process. In paying tribute to them, I renew my appeal to political leaders and the private sector to spare no effort to ensure access to COVID-19 vaccines and to the essential technologies needed to care for the sick, the poor and those who are most vulnerable," he said.
Pope Francis also expressed disappointment that "alongside all these testimonies of love and solidarity, we have also seen a surge in various forms of nationalism, racism and xenophobia, and wars and conflicts that bring only death and destruction in their wake."
The 2021 World Day of Peace message included multiple quotations from his newest encyclical, "Fratelli tutti."
The pope stressed that there is a need for relationships between nations to be inspired by fraternity, mutual respect, solidarity, and the observance of international law. He also urged that humanitarian law be respected.
"Tragically, many regions and communities can no longer remember a time when they dwelt in security and peace. Numerous cities have become epicenters of insecurity: citizens struggle to maintain their normal routine in the face of indiscriminate attacks by explosives, artillery and small arms. Children are unable to study," he said.
"Men and women cannot work to support their families. Famine is spreading in places where it was previously unknown. People are being forced to take flight, leaving behind not only their homes but also their family history and their cultural roots."
"While such conflicts have many causes, the result is always the same: destruction and humanitarian crises. We need to stop and ask ourselves what has led our world to see conflict as something normal, and how our hearts can be converted and our ways of thinking changed, in order to work for true peace in solidarity and fraternity."
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