08/11/2015, 00.00
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‘Overcome indifference and win peace’ on the 2016 World Day of Peace

Pope Francis’s choice for the upcoming World Day of Peace “indicates the Holy See’s diplomatic line during the coming year”. The matter is close to the pope’s heart. On several occasion, he has called for action against the "globalisation of indifference." For the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, all must act “according to their possibilities and according to their best aspirations to build together a more conscious and merciful, and, therefore, more free and fair world.”

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace announced that ‘Overcome indifference and win peace’ is the theme of the upcoming World Day of Peace, on 1 January.

In its release, the Council stated that indifference towards the scourges of our time "is one of the fundamental causes of the lack of peace. Today, indifference is often linked to various forms of individualism which cause isolation, ignorance, selfishness and, therefore, lack of interest and commitment". To counter this, “The Message for 2016 aims to be a starting point for all people of good will, particularly those who work in the education, media, [and] culture”.

Established by the Blessed Paolo VI, the annual event is celebrated the first day of each new year. As such, it “indicates the Holy See’s diplomatic line during the coming year.”  This 1 January 2016 will the 49th of its kind.

Before the ‘globalisation of indifference’, Francis chose fraternity and modern slavery as previous themes; however, the former has always been with him since the beginning of his pontificate. Indeed, on several occasions, he has slammed what for him is a "scourge of the modern era".

“Indifference in regard to the scourges of our time is one of the fundamental causes of the lack of peace. Today, indifference is often linked to various forms of individualism, which cause isolation, ignorance, selfishness and, therefore, lack of interest and commitment.

“Increase of information does not mean per se an increase of attention to the problems, if it is not accompanied by solidarity-based openness of conscience. To this end, the contribution – besides the family – that educators, teachers, people of culture, media practitioners, intellectuals and artists can provide is essential. Indifference can be won only responding together to this challenge.”

“Peace is to be worked at: it is not something that one gains without efforts, without conversion of mind and heart, without a sense of creativity and positive engagement in discussion. We must urgently have recourse to such an action to build a sense of responsibility and awareness about the serious problems and challenges afflicting our time, such as, fundamentalism, intolerance and massacres, persecutions on account of faith and ethnicity, disregard for freedom and the destruction of the rights of entire peoples, the exploitation of human beings subjected even to different forms of slavery, corruption and organized crime, war and the plight of refugees and forcibly displaced persons.” A culture of law and education in dialogue and co-operation “are, in this context, fundamental forms of a constructive response.”

Finally, “Peace is possible where the rights of every human being are recognized and respected, heard and known, according to freedom and justice. The Message for 2016 aims to be a starting point for all people of good will, particularly those who work in the education, media, culture – each one acting according to their possibilities and according to their best aspirations – to build together a more conscious and merciful, and, therefore, more free and fair world.”

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