Utdrag av Pave Johannes Paul IIsBudskap til Fredsdagen 1. januar 1998

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Message for 31st World Day of Peace

VATICAN CITY, DEC 16, 1997 (VIS) - Made public today was John Paul II's Message for the celebration of the 31st World Day of Peace, January 1, 1998. It was signed on December 8. Following are excerpts from the message, which was published in Italian, French, English, German, Spanish, Portuguese and Polish.


Justice goes hand in hand with peace and is permanently and actively linked to peace. Justice and peace seek the good of one and all, and for this reason they demand order and truth. When one is threatened, both falter; when justice is offended, peace is also placed in jeopardy.

Precisely because there exists a very close connection between the justice of the individual and the peace of everyone, in the present Message for the World Day of Peace I wish to address above all the Heads of States. ...

Individuals, families, communities and nations, all are called to live in justice and to work for peace. No one can claim exemption from this responsibility.

At this moment my thoughts turn to those who, without wanting it, are caught in the midst of bitter conflicts. I also think of the marginalized, the poor, the victims of all kinds of exploitation.

Justice is, at one and the same time, a moral virtue and a legal concept. ... Justice makes whole, it does not destroy; it leads to reconciliation, not to revenge.


The human person is by nature endowed with universal, inviolable and inalienable rights. These rights do not however exist in isolation.

In recent centuries, these human rights have been formulated in declarations of principles and binding legal instruments.

Fifty years ago, ... the General Assembly of the United Nations promulgated the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. That was a solemn act, arrived at after the sad experience of war, and motivated by the desire formally to recognize that the same rights belong to every individual and to all peoples.

On the fiftieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, .. certain shadows however hover, ... consisting in the reservations being expressed in relation to two essential characteristics of the very idea of human rights: their universality and their indivisibility. These distinctive features must be strongly reaffirmed. ...

Respect for human rights not only involves their protection in law. ... It is likewise important to attend to the promotion of human rights. ... In the context of promoting human rights, further efforts must be made to protect the rights of the family, which is "the natural and basic unit of society".


... For a more equitable society and a more stable peace in a world on the way to globalization, it is an urgent task of the International Organizations to help promote a sense of responsibility for the common good. But to achieve this we must never lose sight of the human person, who must be at the centre of every social project. Only thus will the United Nations become a 'family of nations'. ... The challenge, in short, is to ensure a globalization in solidarity, a globalization without marginalization.


Nations and whole regions of the world, on account of their fragile financial or economic potential, risk being excluded from an economy which is becoming globalized.

My thoughts go here to one of the greatest difficulties which the poorer nations have to face today. I refer to the heavy burden of external debt. ..

The debt question is part of a vaster problem: that of the persistence of poverty. ... If the aim is globalization without marginalization, we can no longer tolerate a world in which there live side by side the immensely rich and the miserably poor, the have-nots deprived even of essentials and people who thoughtlessly waste what others so desperately need.


And what are we to say of the grave inequalities existing within nations? Situations of extreme poverty, wherever they are found, constitute a prime injustice.

Nor can we pass over in silence the evil of corruption. ...

A grave responsibility in this battle falls on people in public life. Theirs is the duty to work tirelessly for the equitable application of the law and for transparency in all acts of public administration.


There are other forms of injustice which put peace at risk. Here, I wish to mention two. First, not having the possibility of fair access to credit. ... For this reason it is everyone's duty to work to ensure that the poor have access to credit on equitable terms and at affordable interest rates.

And what are we to say of increasing violence against women and against children of both sexes? Today this is one of the most widespread violations of human rights, and tragically it has even become a terror tactic: women taken hostage, children barbarously slaughtered. To this must be added the violence of forced prostitution and child pornography, and the exploitation of children in the workplace in conditions of veritable slavery. ... Appropriate legal measures are needed at both the national and international level. ... One element, in fact, absolutely must not be lacking in the ethical and cultural patrimony of the human family as a whole and of each individual person: awareness that human beings are all equal in dignity, deserve the same respect, and have the same rights and duties.


Peace for all of us comes from the justice of each of us.

I appeal above all to you, Heads of States and Leaders of Nations, the principal guardians of the rule of law in your respective countries. Certainly this is not an easy task for you to fulfil, but it constitutes a primary obligation.

Building peace in justice calls for the cooperation of every sector of society. ... In particular I encourage you, educators engaged at every level in training and educating the younger generation: form them in moral and civic values, instil in them a lively sense of rights and duties. ...

In the formative process, the family is indispensable. ... The family is the first school of living. ...

Finally, to you, young people of the world, who spontaneously aspire to justice and peace, I say: always keep alive the quest for these ideals. ... Be quick to reject the temptation of unlawful short-cuts towards false mirages of success and wealth. On the contrary, value what is right and true. ...


The Jubilee of the Year 2000 is fast approaching. ... It is therefore a special time for seeking that justice which leads to peace.

Christians are called to act justly and to live in peace with all. ...

The distinctive mark of the Christian, today more than ever, must be love for the poor, the weak, the suffering. Living out this demanding commitment requires a total reversal of the alleged values which make people seek only their own good: power, pleasure, the unscrupulous accumulation of wealth.

What is needed is a spirit of sharing, so that we consider it an honor to be able to devote our care and attention to the needs of our brothers and sisters in difficulty.


... The second year of immediate preparation for the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 (is) dedicated to the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of hope is at work in the world. He is present in the selfless service of those who work alongside the outcast and the suffering, those who welcome immigrants and refugees, those who bravely refuse to reject a person or a whole group for ethnic, cultural or religious reasons. ... Indeed, these are signs of hope which encourage us to seek the justice which leads to peace.

MESS/WORLD DAY PEACE/...                                    VIS 971216 (1310)
av Webmaster publisert 16.12.1997, sist endret 16.12.1997 - 16:03