Here is a Vatican Radio translation of the address Pope Francis gave today before and after praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
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Dear brothers and sisters,
A few days ago we began the new year in the name of the Mother of God, celebrating World Peace Day on the theme: “No longer slaves, but brothers”. My hope is that the exploitation of man by man would be overcome. This exploitation is a social plague that mortifies interpersonal relations and impedes a life of communion imprinted with respect, justice and charity. Each person, and every people hungers and thirsts for peace; therefore, it is necessary and urgent to build peace!
Certainly, peace is not only the absence of war, but a general condition in which the human person is in harmony with himself, with nature, and with others. First of all, to silence arms and to extinguish the outbreaks of war remain the unavoidable conditions to begin a journey that leads to the achievement of peace in its different aspects. I think of conflicts still shedding blood in too many regions of the planet, of tensions in families and in communities, as well as the sharp conflicts in our cities and towns between groups of different culture, ethnic and religious backgrounds. We must convince ourselves, despite any appearances to the contrary, that concord is always possible, at every level and in every situation. There is no future without proposals and projects for peace!
From the Old Testament, peace has been attached to the promise of God: “They shall beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks; One nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again” (Is 2:4). Peace is proclaimed, as a special gift of God, in the birth of the Redeemer: “Peace on earth to those on whom His favour rests (Lk 2:14).” Such a gift requires that we seek it incessantly in prayer and welcome it every day with commitment, in the situations in which we find ourselves. At the dawn of a new year, we are all called to rekindle in our hearts an impulse of hope, that should result in concrete works of peace, reconciliation, and fraternity. Each one, in his own role and responsibility, can accomplish gestures of fraternity in dealing with one’s neighbour, especially with those who are tried by family tensions or by disagreements of different kinds. These small gestures have great value: they can be the seeds that give hope, they can open paths and prospects of peace.
Let us invoke Mary, the Queen of Peace. She, during her earthly life, knew no small difficulties, joined to the daily fatigue of existence. But she never lost peace of heart, the fruit of trustful abandonment to the mercy of God. Let us ask Mary, our tender Mother, to show to the whole world the sure path of love and of peace.
After the Angelus
I offer a cordial greeting to all of you, dear pilgrims from Italy and from various countries to take part in this encounter of prayer.
In particular I greet the faithful from Casirate d’Adda, Alfianello, Val Brembilla, and Verona.
To each of you I express the hope that you will spend this second Good Sunday in peace and serenity. And please, don’t forget to pray for me.[Translation by Vatican Radio]