In his first message addressing world peace, Pope Francis stressed fraternity as the ‘foundation and pathway’ to peace, challenging all people to see each other’s humanity and pursue dialogue and peace over war and conflict.
“In the heart of every man and woman is the desire for a full life, including
that irrepressible longing for fraternity which draws us to fellowship with others,” Pope Francis wrote, “and enables us to see them not as enemies or rivals, but as brothers and sisters to be accepted and embraced.”
The message cites excessive inequality, ‘globalization of indifference’ as threats to peace and urges all people to engage in dialogue and regard one another as brothers and sisters.
“In God’s family, where all are sons and daughters of the same Father,” Pope Francis wrote, “there are no ‘disposable lives.’” The pope drew on the story of Cain and Abel in Genesis to illustrate that “we have an inherent calling to fraternity, but also the tragic capacity to betray that calling.”
Pope Francis listed war, globalization, threats to religious freedom, human trafficking, economic disparity and abuses of the financial system as examples of fraternity breaking down and leading to violence against people.
“In disagreements, which are an unavoidable part of life, we should always remember that we are brothers and sisters, and therefore teach others and teach ourselves not to consider our neighbor as an enemy or as an adversary to be eliminated,” the pope wrote. “Give up the way of arms and go out to meet the other in dialogue, pardon and reconciliation, in order to rebuild justice, trust, and hope around you!”
To read the full World Day of Peace message issued by Pope Francis, click here.