ROME – On Tuesday the Vatican announced the theme for next year’s World Day of Peace, which will focus on the political involvement of every person as both a duty, and an act of charity aimed at achieving peace.
Titled “Good politics is at the service of peace,” the theme for the 2019 edition of the commemoration was announced Nov. 6, and marks the 52nd anniversary of the event, instituted by Saint Pope Paul VI in 1968.
Celebrated each year on the first day of January, the World Day of Peace is accompanied by a message from the pope which is sent to all foreign ministers around the world, and which also indicates what the Holy See’s diplomatic tone will be during the coming year.
In his five years in office, Pope Francis has so far dedicated his peace messages to reiterating points he often makes, such as the importance of fraternity, overcoming political and individual indifference and putting an end to all forms of slavery and human trafficking.
His messages for the event have often offered bold advice at both a political and pastoral level, pushing for an end to the arms trade and the death penalty, and amnesty for prisoners held on political offenses.
In a statement released along with the theme of next year’s World Day of Peace, the Vatican gave a sneak-peek at what January’s message will likely contain, stressing that political responsibility is something that belongs to every citizen, “and in particular those who have received the mandate to protect and to govern.”
This task, the Vatican said, “consists in safeguarding the law and encouraging dialogue between the actors of society, between generations and between cultures.”
“There is no peace without mutual trust. And trust has as a first condition respect for the word given,” the statement said, adding that the political commitment of citizens “is one of the highest expressions of charity,” and as such, it brings with it concern for “the future of life and of the planet, of the young and the weakest, in their thirst for fulfillment.”
When peoples’ rights are respected, they begin to feel a sense of duty and respect toward others, the statement said, adding that the sense of rights and duties of citizens increases to the extent that they are aware that they belong to a community, with others and with God.
“We are therefore called to bring and announce peace as the good news of a future where every living being is considered in their dignity and in their rights,” the Vatican said.