Pope Clarifies True Nature of Justice and Peace

Remembers Christians Paying for Fidelity With Their Lives

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 13, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Justice is not a mere human convention and peace is not the mere absence of war, Benedict XVI affirmed today.

The Pope said this when he received members of the General Inspectorate for Public Security in the Vatican in a traditional meeting that takes place every year in January for the exchange of New Year greetings.

“Defending public order, especially in an area so heavily frequented by tourists and pilgrims from all over the world, is no simple task,” he said, according to the Vatican Information Service. “The See of Peter is the center of Christianity, and many Catholics wish to come here at least once in their lives to pray at the tombs of the Apostles. The presence, both of the Holy See and of such large numbers of cosmopolitan visitors who come to be at the heart of the Catholic Church, is certainly not a problem for the city of Rome or for Italy as a whole; rather, it is a source of richness and a reason to be proud.”

The Holy Father went on to note parts of the globe where Christians do not enjoy peace, and are “paying their adherence to Christ and the Church with their lives.”

“In my message for the World Day of Peace this year, I underlined the importance of educating young people in justice and peace, two terms much used in our world, though often inappropriately,” he recalled.

“Justice,” the Holy Father explained, “is not a mere human convention. When, in the name of supposed justice, the criteria of utility, profit and material possession come to dominate, the value and dignity of human beings can be trampled underfoot. Justice is a virtue which guides the human will, prompting us to give others what is due to them by reason of their existence and their actions. Likewise, peace is not the mere absence of war, or the result of man’s actions to avoid conflict; it is, above all, a gift of God which must be implored with faith, and which has the way to its fulfillment in Jesus. True peace must be constructed day after day with compassion, solidarity, fraternity and collaboration on everyone’s part.”

“As policemen and women,” the Bishop of Rome told his audience, “always be true promoters of justice and sincere builders of peace. Let us pray to the Mother of God, Queen of Peace, to support our intentions and activities with her maternal intercession. To her we entrust this year of 2012, that everyone may live in mutual respect and strive after the common good, in the hope that no act of violence will be committed in the name of God, supreme guarantor of justice and peace.”

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