World Day of Peace

January 1 is World Day of Peace. The theme of Pope Benedict’s message for this year’s celebration of the World Day of Peace is Fighting Poverty to Build Peace. In the message, he reminds us that “the Church’s social teaching has always been concerned with the poor.” It is not enough, the Pope instructs, to merely give from one’s surplus. Rather, quoting John Paul II’s encyclical Centesimus Annus, he spoke of the need for “a change of life-styles, of models of production and consumption, and of the established structures of power which today govern societies.” The letter identifies a number of specific issues, including the enormity of the problem of child poverty.

Pope Benedict ends his letter by extending “to every disciple of Christ and to every person of good will a warm invitation to expand their hearts to meet the needs of the poor and to take whatever practical steps are possible in order to help them. The truth of the axiom cannot be refuted: ‘to fight poverty is to build peace.'”

You can find the entirety of the Pope Benedict’s World Day of Peace Message here.