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Pope urges non-violence in World Peace Day message

By Ians

Vatican City, Dec 12 The Catholic Church will help build world peace, Pope Francis vowed on Monday, calling on political, religious and business leaders, as well as the heads of international institutions to end violence.


In a major address for the upcoming World Day of Peace on January 1, Francis said we are "engaged in a world war fought piecemeal" and that violence only begets violence.

"Violence is not the cure for our broken world.

"Countering violence with violence leads at best to forced migrations and enormous suffering, because vast amounts of resources are diverted to military ends and away from the everyday needs of young people, families experiencing hardship, the elderly, the infirm and the great majority of people in our world.

"At worst, it can lead to the death, physical and spiritual, of many people, if not of all," he said.

Francis asked God to help people "cultivate non-violence in our most personal thoughts and values" so that non-violence may "become the hallmark of our decisions, our relationships and our actions, and indeed of political life in all its forms."

"The politics of non-violence have to begin in the home and then spread to the entire human family," he underlined.

"I pledge the assistance of the Church in every effort to build peace through active and creative non-violence, " the pontiff said.

"Non-violence is sometimes taken to mean surrender, lack of involvement and passivity, but this is not the case," he said.

The message also repeats the Catholic Church's frequent plea for global nuclear weapons disarmament and abolition.

"I plead for disarmament and for the prohibition and abolition of nuclear weapons," said Francis.

The speech cited individuals in history who have used non-violence for political change, praising Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Liberian activist Leymah Gbowee, whose work building a women's peace movement helped end the Second Liberian Civil War in 2003.

Long before these modern-day peace-builders, Jesus "marked out the path of non-violence," Francis said.

"He taught his disciples to love their enemies and to turn the other cheek," he said.

Christ offered his followers a "manual" for peace-building in his Sermon of the Mount, Francis said.

"Blessed are the meek, Jesus tells us, the merciful and the peacemakers, those who are pure in heart, and those who hunger and thirst for justice."


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