VATICAN CITY, JAN. 1, 2002 (Zenit.org).- At the end of the Mass on this New Year´s Day, the 35th World Day of Peace, John Paul II appeared at the window of his library to pray the Angelus with pilgrims gathered in St. Peter´s Square. Here is a translation of his address, which he gave in Italian.
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Dear Brothers and Sisters!
1. Happy New Year to all! We exchange this greeting at the beginning of 2002, under the blessed gaze of Mary Most Holy, whom we venerate today as Mother of God. A greeting of serenity and peace in this World Day of Peace, which is renewed every year since 1968, when it was instituted by my venerated predecessor, Servant of God Paul VI. Humanity has need of peace to construct the civilization of love. Unfortunately, at this time of history, preoccupations and difficulties place obstacles on this road. However, it cannot and must not be abandoned. There must be a response of justice and love to negative forces, guided by perverse interests, which are bent on making the world a theater of war.
2. The Message for this Day of Peace must be viewed in this context, in which I have wished to reaffirm that “there is no peace without justice, and no justice without forgiveness.” In fact, there is no possibility of re-establishing the broken order if justice and forgiveness are not combined.
I appeal in particular to the men and women who experienced the terrible world wars of the last century. I turn to the young people who, fortunately, did not experience those conflicts. To all I say: Together we must be firmly opposed to the temptation to hatred and violence, which only gives the illusion of resolving conflicts, but ends in real and permanent losses. Instead, forgiveness, which might seem like weakness, presupposes great spiritual strength and ensures long-term advantages.
Forgiveness, which is opposed to the instinct to respond to evil with evil, is an attitude that has profound religious motives, especially for Christians, but is also ruled by rational foundations. For all, in fact, believers and nonbelievers, the rule applies of doing to others what one wishes be done to oneself. Applied at the social and international level, this ethical principle constitutes a masterful way to construct a world of greater justice and solidarity.
3. In a globalized world, where threats to justice and peace have large-scale repercussions to the detriment of the weakest, the global mobilization of consciences is an imperative. The Great Jubilee of 2000 laid the foundations: One must not be discouraged by the trials of history, but persevere in the determination to direct in a just way personal, family and social choices, as well as the overall lines of national and international development.
We turn to the heavenly Mother of God, to obtain the peace of Christ for the world. At the dawn of this new year, we confidently entrust to her the Church and the whole of humanity.
[translation by ZENIT]