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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

For 2017 World Peace Day, pope asks to focus on nonviolence

When nonviolence is the basic approach of political decisions and public policy, it promotes the restoration and consolidation of peace, the Vatican said.

In his message for the celebration of World Peace Day on 1st January, Pope Francis will offer reflections on the importance of nonviolence as a political choice, the Vatican said in a statement on 26th August.

“Nonviolence: A style of politics for peace” is the theme the pope chose for World Peace Day 2017, the Vatican said. A papal message on the theme will be sent to heads of states around the world in December.

Pope Francis’ frequent references to a “third world war in pieces” highlight the “serious negative social consequences” of violence, the Vatican statement said.

“Peace, by contrast, promotes socially positive consequences and it allows the achievement of real progress. Therefore, we should act within what is possible, and negotiate ways of peace even where they seem tortuous and impractical,” the Vatican statement said.

By recognising the rights and equal dignity of every person, the statement continued, nonviolence as a political method can “constitute a realistic way to overcome armed conflicts.”

“In this perspective, it becomes important to increasingly recognise not the right of force but the force of right,” it said.

In choosing nonviolence as the World Peace Day theme, the Vatican said, Pope Francis wants to indicate a “path of hope” in a world that needs to learn to settle disputes through negotiation rather than resorting to conflict fueled by the “scourge” of illegal arms trafficking.

“It does not mean that one nation can remain indifferent to the tragedies of another. Rather it means a recognition of the primacy of diplomacy over the noise of arms,” the Vatican statement said.

Picture: Pope Francis arrives with World Youth Day pilgrims for the prayer vigil at the Field of Mercy in Krakow, Poland on 30th July. (CNS photo/Paul Haring).