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Pope stresses education, environment in message for World Day of Peace | News Headlines

Catholic World News

December 21, 2021

Pope Francis, in his annual message to the World Day of Peace, calls for a decrease in military spending and greater investment in education and care for the planet.

The World Day of Peace falls on January 1. This is the date that the Pontiff officially delivers his message of peace to the ambassadors of Vatican diplomatic corp. However, the text of this message is typically released a few more weeks in advance. This year’s papal message, made public December 21, is dedicated to the theme: “Dialogue between generations, education and work: tools for building lasting peace.”

At the start of the message, the Pope cites Pope Paul VI in saying that “integral human development” is the path to peace. His focus is on development. He talks extensively about education and the environment, as well as the global response to Covid, and outlines a plan that will lead to peaceful development.

At a Vatican press conference introducing the Pope’s message, Father Fabio Baggio, the undersecretary of the dicastery for Integral Human Development, acknowledged that this year’s text “departs slightly from the traditional opposition between peace and war.” The Pope says little about warfare, although he asserts that “the deafening noise of war and conflict is intensifying.” Instead he calls attention to other problems:

While pandemic-level diseases are on the rise, the environmental effects of climate change are worsening. The tragedy of hunger is increasing and an economic model that focuses on individualism, rather than solidary sharing, continues to be dominant.

The Pope suggests three steps to rectify the situation: dialogue between generations and education, labor, and labor. These, he says, are the “three indispensable elements for making possible the creation of a social covenant.”

Pope Francis calls for dialogue between generations. He points out the loneliness of the elderly and the uncertainty of young people about the future of the earth. At the Vatican press conference, Sister Alessandra Smerilli, the interim secretary of the dicastery for Integral Human Development, said that young people reject the “absurd conflict that our economic system has declared on the natural environment.” She explained the Pope’s focus by saying that he was concerned not only with wars between nations but also with “the war that humans have for a long time waged against nature, against mother earth, and against other living species.”

In his discussion of education, the Pope argued that education and training are the keys to human development, and “the foundations of a cohesive civil society capable of generating hope, prosperity, and progress.” He said that “there has been a significant reduction worldwide in funding for education and training,” and lamented that at the same time government funding for weaponry has increased.

A Reuters account of the papal message noted that while the Pontiff reported a drop in funding for education, “He did not give any sources for the statistics.” The message included 18 footnotes, of which 16 referred back to previous statements by Pope Francis.


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