MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS
POPE BENEDICT XVI
FOR THE CELEBRATION OF THE
WORLD DAY OF PEACE
1 JANUARY 2011
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM, THE PATH TO PEACE
At the beginning of the new year I offer good wishes to each and all for serenity and prosperity, but especially for peace. Sadly, the year now ending has again been marked by persecution, discrimination, terrible acts of violence and religious intolerance
I implore all men and women of good will to renew their commitment to building a world where all are free to profess their religion or faith, and to express their love of God with all their heart, with all their soul and with all their mind (cf. Mt 22:37). This is the sentiment which inspires and directs this Message for the XLIV World Day of Peace, devoted to the theme:Religious Freedom, the Path to Peace
On 9 January, 2011, the people of southern Sudan will vote in a referendum on their future. The Church in Sudan has called for 101 days of prayer for peace in the lead-up to the referendum.
This period of prayer began on 21 September, the International Day of Peace and concluded on 1 January, the World Day of Prayer for Peace. You are asked to join in this initiative as an act of solidarity with a people who have known much conflict and violence in their history. For background information and prayer resources, see our item: Supporting 101 Days of Prayer for a Peaceful Referendum
Caritas Australia and the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference have also launched an Advent prayer campaign for southern Sudan. You can find resources on the Take Action page of the Caritas site
Along with your prayers, you are encouraged to promote support for the people of southern Sudan by making contact with your local MP and Senators and major organisations such as the Red Cross, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. Please pray and take action for peace in Southern Sudan!