VATICAN CITY, JULY 16, 2012 ( Benedict XVI chose "Blessed are the peacemakers" as the theme for the 46th World Day of Peace, to be celebrated Jan. 1, 2013.

The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace announced the theme today in a statement that also noted that the papal message for the day will again include the topic of religious freedom.

"The annual Message of the Pope, in the complexity of the present time, will encourage everyone to take responsibility with regard to peace-building," the English-language communique from the pontifical council explained.

"The Message will embrace, therefore, the fullness and diversity of the concept of peace, starting from the human being: inner peace and outer peace; then, highlighting the anthropological emergency, the nature and incidence of nihilism; and, at the same time, fundamental rights, in the first place freedom of conscience, freedom of expression, freedom of religion. The Message will offer, as well, an ethical reflection on some measures the world is going to take to contain the financial and economic crisis, the educational crisis, the crisis of the institutions and politics, which is also - in many cases - a worrying crisis of democracy.

"The Message will also look at the 50th Anniversary of Vatican Council II and of the Encyclical Letter by Pope John XXIII, 'Pacem in Terris', according to which the primacy is always for human dignity and freedom, for the building of an earthly city to the service of every person, without any discrimination, and directed to the common good which is based on justice and true peace.

This will be Benedict XVI's eighth World Day of Peace message. 

His previous messages have been dedicated to:

In Truth, Peace (2006), The Human Person, Heart of Peace (2007), The Human Family, a Community of Peace (2008), Fighting Poverty to Build Peace (2009), If you want to cultivate peace, protect creation (2010), Religious Freedom, the path to peace (2011), Educating young people in justice and peace (2012).