Fight indifference, Pope urges in World Day of Peace message
December 15, 2015
In his message of the World Day of Peace, Pope Francis condemns the “globalization of indifference,” urges a new commitment to solidarity, and calls for “courageous gestures” by world leaders to build a culture of peace.
The World Day of Peace is observed on January 1. The Pope’s message, entitled “Overcome indifference and win peace,” was released by the Vatican on December 15.
“God is not indifferent!” the Pope writes at the start of his 8-chapter message. “God cares about mankind! God does not abandon us!”
The Pope says that the year has brought a great deal of troubling news, especially news of warfare and terrorism. But he cites some signs of hope, as well, pointing to the UN conference on climate change that just concluded in Paris, and the earlier conference on sustainable development in Addis Ababa.
Nevertheless, Pope Francis sees an overall tendency toward indifferent, a trend that “has ceased to be a purely personal matter and has taken on broader dimensions, producing a certain ‘globalization of indifference.’”
The source of this indifference, the Pope argues is ‘indifference to God, which then leads to indifference to one’s neighbor and to the environment.” He attributes this trend to “the grave consequences of a false humanism and practical materialism allied to relativism and nihilism.” Citing the words of his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI, he says, ‘the glorification of God and human peace on earth are closely linked.’”
The Pope also points to the example of Cain:
Cain said he did not know what had happened to his brother, that he was not his brother’s keeper. He did not feel responsible for his life, for his fate. He did not feel involved. He was indifferent to his brother, despite their common origin.
In his World Day of Peace message, the Pope urges world leaders to take action against the climate of indifference. He recommends concrete steps such as welcoming migrants, lifting the debt burden of impoverished countries, abolishing the death penalty and considering an amnesty for prisoners during the Jubilee Year of Mercy.
At a press conference in Rome on December 15, introducing the papal message, Cardinal Peter Turkson, the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, observed that the central theme of the papal message was “man’s capacity, with the grace of God, to overcome evil and to combat resignation and indifference.
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