The Vatican News Office today announced the theme for the 47th World Day of Peace which was chosen by Pope Francis. The theme, “Fraternity, the foundation and pathway to peace” will be the focus of the celebration, which will be on January 1st, 2014.
The event was an initiative of Pope Paul VI and usually includes a message from the Holy Father that calls attention to the value of peace in the world.
In a communique released by the Holy See, Pope Francis chose Fraternity as its theme, which has been a key point he has spoken on since the beginning of his papacy. The Holy Father has many times “stressed the need to combat the ‘throwaway culture’” and instead has promoted a “‘culture of encounter’, in order to build a more just and peaceful world.
“Fraternity is a dowry that every man and every woman brings with himself or herself as a human being, as a child of the one Father,” the communique states. “In the face of the many tragedies that afflict the family of nations – poverty, hunger, underdevelopment, conflicts, migrations, pollution, inequalities, injustice, organized crime, fundamentalisms – fraternity is the foundation and the pathway to peace.”
The press release goes on to say that the self-centered culture that exists in today’s modern world has caused many to lose the sense of “responsibility and fraternal relationship” with their fellow man.
“Not uncommonly, the poor and needy are regarded as a “burden”, a hindrance to development. At most, they are considered as recipients of aid or compassionate assistance,” the communique states, echoing the words of Pope Francis. “They are not seen as brothers and sisters, called to share the gifts of creation, the goods of progress and culture, to be partakers at the same table of the fullness of life, to be protagonists of integral and inclusive development.”
Pope Francis has driven these points home, particularly during his Apostolic visit to the Italian island of Lampedusa, where many African migrants travel to in order to enter the country. There, the Holy Father spoke of a globalized indifference when it comes to the suffering of others. The theme of the World Day of Peace continues to bring attention to this type of indifference that exists in the world.
“In a world that is constantly growing more interdependent, the good of fraternity is one that we cannot do without,” the communique stated. “It serves to defeat the spread of the globalization of indifference to which Pope Francis has frequently referred. The globalization of indifference must give way to a globalization of fraternity.”
The communique concludes by conveying the need for Fraternity to permeate all aspects of society, including economy, finance, civil society, politics, research, development, public and cultural institutions.