Pope’s Message for World Day of Peace 1 January 2006 published ‘IN TRUTH, PEACE’

13 Dec 2005


13 DECEMBER 2005




This morning in the Holy See Press Office, Cardinal Renato Martino, prefect
of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, presented Pope Benedict XVI’s
Message for the World Day of Peace on 1st January 2006. The theme of the Pope’s
Message for 2006 is ‘In truth, peace’.

Cardinal Martino began by indicating how the Holy Father has chosen “‘the truth’
as the theme for reflection, linking its many dimensions to the various questions
concerning peace in the modern world,” and drawing inspiration from the Vatican
Council II Pastoral Constitution “Gaudium et spes.”

“The theme of truth is, without doubt, very dear to Benedict XVI, and constantly
recurs in his teaching even to the point of characterizing his papal ministry,
like a background motif on the basis of which other themes are developed in
keeping with the musical art of ‘variations on a theme’.”

Cardinal Martino pointed out how the Pope’s Message is divided into four parts:
“The first part, which is of a spiritual and theological nature, highlights
the meaning and value of the bond between peace, truth and lies.” The second
part considers peace in the context of real situations of war. “In the third
part, the truth of peace is considered in close relation … to terrorism.”
The fourth part considers the truth of peace from the point of view of the
need to relaunch the political process of disarmament.

In the first part of his Message, the cardinal went on, “the Holy Father insists
that the themes of truth and lies must not be considered as irrelevant pastimes
or useless pseudo-intellectual pursuits, but … as decisive historical events
upon which the joy or misery of men and women depend.”

Pope Benedict then goes on to affirm that peace “is the fruit of an order which
has been planted in human society by its divine Founder,” said Cardinal Martino,
adding that “in order for the cause of peace to progress, humanity today must
cherish universal moral law. … At this point, … the Holy Father introduces
his reflections on lies as a sin with devastating consequences on the lives of
individuals and nations.” From a historical point of view, the Holy Father then
“formulates a very severe judgement of last century” and concludes the first
part of his Message by highlighting the “need for peace” which is intrinsic
to human beings and is “the shared birthright of all men and women of the one
human family.”

In the second part of the Message, said the prefect of the Pontifical Council
for Justice and Peace, “the Holy Father considers the truth of peace in cases
where war has actually broken out. In such cases, there must be full respect
and complete observance of international humanitarian law, which … must remain
a point of reference for the international community.”

Cardinal Martino went on to outline the third part of the Holy Father’s Message,
saying that “after having confirmed his customary condemnation of terrorism, …
Benedict XVI offers an innovative and thus far unexplored interpretation of the
phenomenon of terrorism.” According to this interpretation, the inspiration of
terrorism lies in nihilism and in fanatical fundamentalism, which “have an
entirely erroneous approach both to truth and to the truth of peace.”

The Pope does not overlook the fact that the number of armed conflicts has
decreased, said the cardinal, but he does refer to the many situations where
conflict is latent and specifically mentions “authorities who … use their
power to incite their citizens to hostility towards other nations,” and “the
programs of certain governments who use nuclear energy to create arms, …
in the false conviction that this guarantees the security of their people.”

In closing, Cardinal Martino indicated numerous points in the Pope’s Message
“that trace out a path of spirituality in peace” in its Christological,
missionary and ecclesial dimensions. He also stressed how the text concludes
with “an invitation to pray for and bear witness to peace through the exercise
of charity.”

Click here for the full text of the Pope’s Message.

Further information:

Martin Long Director of Communications (086 172 7678)
Brenda Drumm Communications Officer (087 233 7797)