On Tuesday, the Church will celebrate the 52nd World Day of Peace. These are excerpts from Pope Francis’s message for the occasion:

Good politics

“Politics is an essential means of building human community and institutions, but when political life is not seen as a service to society it can become a means of oppression, marginalisation and even destruction. If exercised with basic respect for the life, freedom and dignity of persons, political life can become an outstanding form of charity.”

Politics, charity and human virtues

“Man’s earthly activity, when inspired and sustained by charity, contributes to the building of the city of God, which is the goal of the history of the human family. This is a programme on which all politicians, whatever their culture or religion, can agree, if they wish to work for the good of the human family and to practise human virtues that sustain justice, equality, mutual respect, sincerity, honesty, fidelity.”

Political vices

“Sadly, politics also has its vices, whether due to incompetence or to flaws in the system and its institutions. We think of corruption in its varied forms: misappropriation of public resources, exploitation of individuals, denial of rights, flouting of community rules, dishonest gain,  justification of power by force or arbitrary appeal to raison d’état and the refusal to relinquish power. We can add xenophobia, racism, lack of concern for the environment, the plundering of natural resources for the sake of quick profit and contempt for those forced into exile.”

Youth participation

“When political power aims only at protecting the interests of a few privileged individuals, the future is compromised and young people  can lose confidence, since they are relegated to the margins of society without the possibility of helping to build the future. But when politics  fosters the talents of young people and their aspirations, peace grows in their outlook and on their faces.”

Our common home

“Everyone can contribute his or her stone to help build the common home. Authentic political life, grounded in law and in frank and fair relations, experiences renewal when­ we are convinced that every woman, man and generation brings the promise of new relational, intellectual, cultural and spiritual energies. That kind of trust is never easy to achieve, because human relations are complex, especially in our own times, marked by a climate of mistrust rooted in the fear of others or of strangers, or anxiety about one’s personal security.”

(Compiled by Fr Joe Borg)


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