The Vatican today released Pope Benedict XVI's Message for the Celebration of the World Day of Peace 2008, titled "The Human Family, a Community of Peace."
In it, he spoke about the importance of the family as the foundation of society, as the place where children learn to savor the "taste" of speech. He said, "The language of the family is a language of peace; we must always draw from it, lest we lose the 'vocabulary' of peace. In the inflation of its speech, society cannot cease to refer to that 'grammar' which all children learn from the looks and the actions of their mothers and fathers, even before they learn from their words."
He spoke of the need to protect the rights of a family in society, and to provide for the basic needs of families within society.
He also spoke about the environment, calling the earth "our common home." He cautioned that emerging countries, hungry for energy, should not meet those needs by harming poor countries that may be forced to sell their resources for less than what they are worth due to a lack of infrastructure.
He spoke of the need for a "solid foundation of shared spiritual and ethical values" in the human family, which is increasingly unified by globalization. While he expressed that values grounded in the natural law are present
in a fragmentary way in
principles of humanitarian law
incorporated into national and international legal authority, he added that "there is an
urgent need to persevere in dialogue about these issues and to encourage the
legislation of individual States to converge towards a recognition of
fundamental human rights."
Concerning increasing international tension and the risk it poses for the future, he expressed concern about civil wars in Africa, the situation in the Middle East, and regret for the growing number of countries involved in the arms race.
Lastly, he mentioned that this year marks the 25th anniversary of the Holy See's adoption of the
Charter of the Rights of the Family (1983-2008) and the 40th
anniversary of the celebration of the
first World Day of Peace
(1968-2008). In light of those anniversaries, he invited everyone to live "a more
lively sense of belonging to the one human family, and to strive to make human
coexistence increasingly reflect this conviction, which is essential for the
establishment of true and lasting peace. I likewise invite believers to implore
tirelessly from God the great gift of peace."