MANILA, Jan. 2, 2013—Opening the New Year on a theme of peace, Pope Benedict XVI called on the faithful to defend life in all its aspects, calling those who do so as “true peacemakers.”
Peace can only be attained by respecting “human life in all its many aspects, beginning with its conception, through its development and up to its natural end,” the pope said in a New Year message titled “Blessed are the Peacemakers”.
Read January 1 during the celebration of the 46th World Day of Peace, the pope’s message dwelt on wide-ranging topics essential in the achievement of true and lasting peace in the world.
In a section that considers the value of human life, he said “peacemakers are those who love, defend and promote life in its fullness.”
“Life in its fullness is the height of peace,” he said. “Anyone who loves peace cannot tolerate attacks and crimes against life.”
He said it is a pursuit of false peace when life is devalued, such as in support for the liberalization of abortion.
“The flight from responsibility, which degrades human persons, and even more so the killing of a defenceless and innocent being, will never be able to produce happiness or peace,” he said.
“Indeed how could one claim to bring about peace, the integral development of peoples or even the protection of the environment without defending the life of those who are weakest, beginning with the unborn,” the pope further said.
He noted that “every offence against life, especially at its beginning, inevitably causes irreparable damage to development, peace and the environment.”
The pontiff also lamented that some laws are being crafted covertly including “false rights and freedoms” using euphemisms to promote “a supposed right to abortion and euthanasia, [which] pose a threat to the fundamental right to life.”
Sanctity of Marriage
The threat on the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman in the growing clamor from various countries to legalize same sex unions did not lost on the Holy Father, either.
He said the attempts by many to legalize same sex unions may destroy the very essence of marriage itself, “obscuring its specific nature and its indispensable role in society.”
“These principles are not truths of faith, nor are they simply a corollary of the right to religious freedom. They are inscribed in human nature itself, accessible to reason and thus common to all humanity,” the pope said.
The Holy Father said it is essential to promote these principles to all regardless of religious affiliation, the more these are denied and misunderstood, “since this constitute an offence against the truth of the human person, with serious harm to justice and peace.”
Another path to building peace, he said, is for legal systems to acknowledge the right of people “to invoke the principle of conscientious objection in the face of laws or government measures that offend against human dignity, such as abortion and euthanasia.”
Role of family
The pope also singled out the role of the family in promoting life, saying it has “a natural vocation to promote life” as it “accompanies individuals as they mature and it encourages mutual growth and enrichment through caring and sharing.”
“The Christian family in particular serves as a seedbed for personal maturation according to the standards of divine love,” he said. “The family is one of the indispensable social subjects for the achievement of a culture of peace.”
He also pointed out the rights of parents and their primary role in educating their children in the areas of morality and religion.
“It is in the family that peacemakers, tomorrow’s promoters of a culture of life and love, are born and nurtured,” he said.
The pope also touched on other issues essential in the attainment of peace, like integral human development, religious freedom, people’s right to work and food security for all. (CBCPNews)