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Background: papal message for January 1, the World Day of Peace

December 30, 2016

On January 1, the Church commemorates the 50th World Day of Peace. Pope Francis’s message for the day, released December 12, is devoted to “Nonviolence: A Style of Politics for Peace.”

The Pope’s previous messages for the day were entitled “Fraternity, the Foundation and Pathway to Peace” (2014), “No Longer Slaves, but Brothers and Sisters” (2015), and “Overcome Indifference and Win Peace” (2016).

In his message for the 1st World Day of Peace, Blessed Pope Paul VI wrote, “It is Our desire that then, every year, this commemoration be repeated as a hope and as a promise, at the beginning of the calendar which measures and outlines the path of human life in time, that Peace with its just and beneficent equilibrium may dominate the development of events to come.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church summarizes Catholic teaching on peace and just war in the third part of its discussion of the Fifth Commandment, and the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church discusses Catholic teaching on peace in Chapter 11.

Between 1914 and 1968, five popes issued 21 encyclicals on peace. Since 1968, papal teaching on peace has been expressed primarily in the messages of Blessed Paul VI, St. John Paul II, and Pope Benedict XVI for the World Day of Peace.

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