Message of His Holiness Pope Francis for the Celebration of the 53rd World Day of Peace, 1 January 2020
1. Peace, a journey of hope in the face of obstacles and trial
Peace is a great and precious value, the object of our hope and the aspiration of the entire human family….Hope is thus the virtue that inspires us and keeps us moving forward, even when obstacles seem insurmountable.
The terrible trials of internal and international conflicts, often aggravated by ruthless acts of violence, have an enduring effect on the body and soul of humanity. Every war is a form of fratricide that destroys the human family's innate vocation to brotherhood.
We need to pursue a genuine fraternity based on our common origin from God and exercised in dialogue and mutual trust. The desire for peace lies deep within the human heart, and we should not resign ourselves to seeking anything less than this.
2. Peace, a journey of listening based on memory, solidarity and fraternity
Many people in today's world are working to ensure that future generations will preserve the memory of past events, not only in order to prevent the same errors or illusions from recurring, but also to enable memory, as the fruit of experience, to serve as the basis and inspiration for present and future decisions to promote peace.
The world does not need empty words but convinced witnesses, peacemakers who are open to a dialogue that rejects exclusion or manipulation.
The peace process…is a patient effort to seek truth and justice, to honor the memory of victims and to open the way, step by step, to a shared hope stronger than the desire for vengeance. The Church shares fully in the search for a just social order; she continues to serve the common good and to nourish the hope for peace by transmitting Christian values and moral teaching, and by her social and educational works.
3. Peace, a journey of reconciliation in fraternal communion
The Bible…reminds individuals and peoples of God's covenant with humanity, which entails renouncing our desire to dominate others and learning to see one another as persons, sons and daughters of God, brothers and sisters.
The path of reconciliation is a summons to discover in the depths of our heart the power of forgiveness and the capacity to acknowledge one another as brothers and sisters. When we learn to live in forgiveness, we grow in our capacity to become men and women of peace.
4. Peace, a journey of ecological conversion
Faced with the consequences of our hostility towards others, our lack of respect for our common home or our abusive exploitation of natural resources—seen only as a source of immediate profit, regardless of local communities, the common good and nature itself—we are in need of an ecological conversion….This journey of reconciliation also calls for listening and contemplation of the world that God has given us as a gift to make our common home.
All this gives us deeper motivation and a new way to dwell in our common home, to accept our differences, to respect and celebrate the life that we have received and share, and to seek living conditions and models of society that favor the continued flourishing of life and the development of the common good of the entire human family.
5. “We obtain all that we hope for’
Peace will not be obtained unless it is hoped for….this means believing in the possibility of peace, believing that others need peace just as much as we do.
Fear is frequently a source of conflict. So it is important to overcome our human fears….The culture of fraternal encounter shatters the culture of conflict. It makes of every encounter a possibility and a gift of God's generous love. It leads us beyond the limits of our narrow horizons and constantly encourages us to a live in a spirit of universal fraternity, as children of the one heavenly Father.
For the followers of Christ, this journey is likewise sustained by the sacrament of Reconciliation….It requires us to set aside every act of violence in thought, word and deed, whether against our neighbors or against God's creation.