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BY Edward Pentin
Pope Benedict XVI has chosen "Blessed are the peacemakers" as the theme for the 46th World Day of Peace, 1 January 2013, the Vatican announced today.
In a statement, the Vatican said that the message will embrace "the fullness and diversity of the concept of peace" including religious freedom and an ethical reflection on how the world is to handle crises affecting the economy, education, and democracy. The aim of the message, it said, is to "encourage everyone to take responsibility with regard to peacebuilding."
Whereas past messages have tended to focus on a single issue - the family, education, truth - next year's promises to be more comprehensive, examining also the 50th Anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and Pope John XXIII's encyclical, Pacem in Terris (Peace on Earth).
The Vatican statement reads:
"For the celebration of the 46th World Day of Peace of 1st January 2013, the Holy Father Benedict XVI has chosen the following theme: "Blessed are the peacemakers".
The annual Message of the Pope, in the complexity of the present time, will encourage everyone to take responsibility with regard to peacebuilding.
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 the Second Vatican Council and of the encyclical letter by Pope John XXIII, Pacem in Terris, according to which the primacy is always for the human dignity and its 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.
"Blessed are the peacemakers" will be the eighth Message of Pope Benedict XVI for the Celebration of the World Day of Peace. Following are the titles of the previous ones: "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)."