For 2017 World Peace Day, pope asks to focus on nonviolence

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — When nonviolence is the basic approach of
political decisions and public policy, it promotes the restoration and
consolidation of peace, the Vatican said.

In his message for the Jan. 1 celebration of World Peace Day, Pope
Francis will offer reflections on the importance of nonviolence as a political
choice, the Vatican said in a statement Aug. 26.

“Nonviolence: A style of politics for peace” is the
theme the pope chose for World Peace Day 2017, the Vatican said. A papal
message on the theme will be sent to heads of states around the world in

Pope Francis’ frequent references to a “third world war in
pieces” highlight the “serious negative social consequences” of
violence, the Vatican statement said.

“Peace, by contrast, promotes socially positive consequences
and it allows the achievement of real progress. Therefore, we should act within
what is possible, and negotiate ways of peace even where they seem tortuous and
impractical,” the Vatican statement said.

By recognizing the rights and equal dignity of every person, the
statement continued, nonviolence as a political method can “constitute a
realistic way to overcome armed conflicts.”

“In this perspective, it becomes important to increasingly
recognize not the right of force but the force of right,” it said.

In choosing nonviolence as the World Peace Day theme, the Vatican
said, Pope Francis wants to indicate a “path of hope” in a world that
needs to learn to settle disputes through negotiation rather than resorting to
conflict fueled by the “scourge” of illegal arms trafficking.

“It does not mean that one nation can remain
indifferent to the tragedies of another. Rather it means a recognition of the
primacy of diplomacy over the noise of arms,” the Vatican statement said.

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