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

December 31, 2009

On January 1, 2010, the Church commemorates the 43rd World Day of Peace. "If You Want to Cultivate Peace, Protect Creation" is the theme of Pope Benedict's message for the day.

In his message for the 1st World Day of Peace, Pope Paul VI wrote, “We address Ourself to all men of good will to exhort them to celebrate ‘The Day of Peace,’ throughout the world, on the first day of the year, January 1, 1968. 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 discusses Catholic teaching on peace and just war in its treatment of the Fifth Commandment. Between 1914 and 1968, five popes wrote 21 encyclicals on peace. Since 1968, papal teaching on peace has primarily been expressed in the messages for the World Day of Peace.


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