Pope Francis chooses 2016 World Peace Day theme

2015-08-11 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis has announced the theme of the Message for the Church’s 49th World Day of Peace that will be celebrated on 1st January 2016 is: Overcome Indifference and Win Peace.

Please find below a communique released by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace which explains why the Pope chose this theme for the 2016 World Day of Peace:

Overcome Indifference and win Peace will be the title of the Message for the 49th World Day of Peace, the third of the papacy of Pope Francis. Indifference in regard to the scourges of our time is one of the fundamental causes of the lack of peace. Today, indifference is often linked to various forms of individualism which cause isolation, ignorance, selfishness and, therefore, lack of interest and commitment. Increase of information does not mean per se an increase of attention to the problems, if it is not accompanied by solidarity-based openness of conscience. To this end, it is essential the contribution that can provide–besides the family–educators, teachers, people of culture, media practitioners, intellectuals and artists. Indifference can be won only responding together to this challenge.

Peace is to be worked at: it is not something that one gains without efforts, without conversion of mind and heart, without a sense of creativity and positive engagement in discussion. Such an action must urgently have recourse to build a sense of responsibility and awareness creation about the serious problems and challenges afflicting our time, such as, fundamentalism, intolerance and massacres, persecutions on account of faith and ethnicity, disregard for freedom and the destruction of the rights of entire peoples, the exploitation of human beings submitted even to the different forms of slavery, corruption and organized crime, war and the plight of refugees and forcibly displaced persons. Such training and awareness creation should seek, at the same time, also opportunities and possibilities to fight these evils: the creation of a culture of law, education in dialogue and co-operation are, in this context, the fundamental forms of a constructive response.

The field for daily peace-building, overcoming indifference, is located in different forms of slavery of nowadays’ world, on which was dedicated The Message for the 1st January 2015: No longer slaves, but brothers and sisters. We should continue this commitment with heightened conscience and cooperation.

Peace is possible where the rights of every human being are recognized and respected, heard and known, according to freedom and justice. The Message for 2016 aims to be a starting point for all people of good will, particularly those who work in the education, media, culture, each one acting according to their possibilities and according to their best aspirations to build together a more conscious and merciful, and, therefore, more free and fair world.

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The World Day of Peace initiated by Paul VI, is celebrated each year on the first day of January. The Holy Father's Message is sent to all Foreign Ministers of the world, and also indicates the Holy See’s diplomatic line during the coming year.

Listen to this report by Susy Hodges: 

(from Vatican Radio)