On Educating Children in Peace

“Even Little Ones Can Do So!”

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 30, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of John Paul II’s words today, before and after praying the midday Angelus with several thousand people gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

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1. Today, St. Peter’s Square is gladdened by the presence of so many youngsters of Catholic Action, who conclude the “month of peace.” I greet you with affection, dear children and youngsters of Catholic Action!

In today’s Gospel, Jesus proclaims: “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matthew 5:9). Even little ones can do so! They too must practice dialogue and learn to “overcome evil with good” (see Romans 12:21), as I reminded all in the recent Message for the World Day of Peace. Injustice must be overcome with justice, lies with truth, revenge with forgiveness, hatred with love.

2. This style of life is not improvised, but requires education from childhood. An education made up of wise teachings and above all of valid models in the family, in school, and in every realm of society. Parishes, oratories, associations, movements and ecclesial groups must become increasingly privileged places of this pedagogy of peace and love, where one learns to grow together.

3. Let us pray to Mary, Queen of Peace, that she may help young people, who so desire peace, to become its courageous and tenacious builders.

[After praying the Angelus, the Holy Father addressed these words to the pilgrims:]

Today, the World Day of Leprosy Sufferers is being observed. In the poorest areas of the world, this sickness, though curable, continues to strike millions of people, among whom are many children. To all these brothers and sisters I address special greetings, assuring them of my prayer, which I extend to all those, who in various ways, assist them. I hope that the international community’s commitment will succeed in eliminating completely this social plague.

I greet the pilgrims present, in particular the Italian association Friends of Raoul Follereau, and I wish all a good Sunday.

[Translation by ZENIT]

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