Next World Day of Peace to address slavery, Vatican announces
“Slaves no more, but brothers and sisters” is the title of the message Pope Francis will deliver for the 2015 World Day of Peace, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace stated Thursday
by Andrea Gagliarducci | Source: EWTN
is a terrible open wound on the contemporary social body, a fatal
running sore on the flesh of Christ,” the pontifical council said in an
Aug. 21 statement.
The World Day of Peace is observed annually on
Jan. 1, and was initiated by Paul VI. It's celebration in 2015 will be
the 48th iteration of the event.
Pope Francis chose the theme of
slavery from a set of three proposed by the Pontifical Council for
Justice and Peace, but himself added the reference to fraternity to the
This is in continuity with his message for this year's World Day of Peace, “Fraternity, the Foundation and Pathway to Peace.”
by choosing the theme of slavery, Pope Francis confirms his focus on
human trafficking, which has surfaced throughout his pontificate.
people think that slavery is a thing of the past. In fact, this social
plague remains all too real in today’s world,” the statement of the
Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace noted.
“Slavery deals a
murderous blow to … fraternity, and so to peace as well. Peace can only
exist when each human being recognizes every other person as a brother
or sister with the same dignity.”
The note anticipates some of
the main issues with which the papal message will deal: human
trafficking, trade in migrants and prostitutes, exploitation, slave
labour, and the enslavement of women and children.
The note reads
that “shamefully, individuals and groups around the world profit from
this slavery. They take advantage of the world’s many conflicts, of the
economic crisis and of corruption in order to carry out their evil.”
pontifical council stressed that to effectively counter slavery, “the
inviolable dignity of every person must be recognized above all … being
children of God gives all human beings equal dignity as brothers and
“Fraternity requires us to reject any inequality which
would allow one person to enslave another. It demands instead that we
act everywhere with proximity and generosity, thus leading to liberation
and inclusion for everyone.”
In addition, achieving a
civilization “based on the equal dignity of every person without
discrimination” will require the commitment of the media, education, and
culture to a society pledged to freedom and justice, the dicastery
The message will be sent to the foreign ministers of all
the world, and is an indication of the Holy See's diplomatic line
throughout the year, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace noted.
This year is the first time that slavery will be the theme of the day.
to an official of the pontifical council who spoke to EWTN News, the
2015 message should be shorter than those of recent years.
time, the length of papal messages for World Days of Peace has
ballooned: Paul VI's last, for 1978, was around 2,900 words; St. John
Paul II's, for 2005, was 3,500; Benedict XVI's for 2013 was 3,800; and
Pope Francis' message for 2014 was nearly 5,000 words.
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