Pope Francis’s New Year’s Message

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In his first message of 2016, Pope Francis summoned humanity to show compassion and to transcend the apathy that impedes peace in a world that has been filled of late with conflict and suffering.

“Today we celebrate the World Day of Peace, whose theme is ‘overcome indifference and win peace,’ ” the pope told thousands of faithful gathered at St. Peter’s Square in an Angelus message.

Peace had to be “cultivated” and “won,” he said, beginning with a “spiritual struggle that starts within our hearts.”

The enemy of peace is not merely war, Francis said, “but also indifference that makes one think only of oneself and creates barriers, suspicions, fears and closure.” He called on people to open their hearts to the needs of others, saying, “This is the way to win peace.”

Since 1968, the Vatican has dedicated its New Year’s Day message to peace.

Earlier on Friday, in his homily at a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, Francis condemned the “arrogance of the powerful” that demeans the weak, “relegating them to the most squalid outskirts of our world.”

He also denounced the “violence and hatred in our world” that has forced tens of thousands of “innocent victims” to flee their homes in search of a better life. “We are witnessing hordes of men, women and children fleeing war, hunger and persecution, ready to risk their lives simply to encounter respect for their fundamental rights,” the pope said.

Francis did not refer to any particular country, but he has urged national governments to support the refugees and migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East that have poured into Europe in recent years. (In his annual “Urbi et Orbi” message on Christmas, the pope cited Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Libya, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen.)

In 2015, more than one million entered Europe by sea and land, according to the International Organization for Migration. On Friday, Francis called this exodus a “torrent of misery.”

Source: New York Times

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