Summary of the message of Pope Francis for the World Day of Peace, January 1st 2017
It was Paul VI who initiated the World Day of Peace. It is celebrated every year on the 1st of January. “Non-violence: a style of politics for peace.” This is the title of the Pope’s message for the 50th World Day of Peace on January 1st 2017.
According to this message there are two ways to build a society: a choice between violence and peace. If the multiplication of outbreaks of violence, the “third world war fought piecemeal” of which the pope speaks, has very serious social consequences, on the contrary peace has positive social effects and allows real progress.
Non-violence, a realistic way
Thus Francis’ message encourages us “to do whatever is possible to negotiate paths of peace even if they seem tortuous, even impracticable.” Then, non-violence will no longer be a simple aspiration, a desire or a moral rejection of barriers and destructive impulses, it will be “a realistic political method open to hope.” A method based on the rule of law, for if the rights of the human being and the equal dignity of all are safeguarded, “non-violence as a political method can become a realistic way to overcome armed conflicts.” It is important that the force of law be increasingly recognized instead of the law of force.
With this message, the pope proposes a path of hope, adapted to the present circumstances: to obtain the resolution of disputes by negotiation before they degenerate into armed conflict. Non-violence as a political style can and must do much to stem the scourge of illegal arms trafficking.
Primacy of diplomacy rather than weapons
Negotiation implies “respect for the culture and identity of peoples, and overcoming the idea that one party would be morally superior to the other, without, however, justifying one nation’s indifference to the tragedies of another. This on the contrary, presupposes the primacy of diplomacy over the use of armaments.”