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It is urgent to educate young people in justice and peace

· Pope’s Message for 2012 World Day of Peace ·

Young people today, “can offer new hope” for the “sense of frustration at the crisis looming over society, the world of labor and the economy.” This conviction of the Pope forms the background of the message for the 45th World Day of Peace – which will be celebrated January 1, 2012 – presented this morning, Friday, December 16th at the Vatican Press Office.

Benedict XVI is attentive to the “concerns expressed in recent times by many young people around the world,” and sees in them above all, “the desire to look to the future with solid hope.” Thus, the Pope has chosen to devote his message to “the theme of education,” with the title, “Educating Young People in Justice and Peace.” Benedict XVI also appeals to all the components of society to pay attention to “this unease and its underlying idealism.”

The Pontiff speaks with concern about the apprehensions of young people - especially “how difficult it is to form a family and find stable employment,” – and recalls the centrality of the question of education. “Parents are the first educators,” he underscores, because “family is the first school in which we are trained in justice and peace.”

It is up to the State to offer, “assistance to families and educational institutions in the exercise of their right and duty to educate,” through a series of concrete measures: “adequate support for maternity and paternity;” the guarantee that, “families are able to freely choose the educational structures they consider most suitable for their children;” and a commitment favoring, “reuniting families separated by the need to earn a living.” Benedict XVI asks politicians to also offer young people, “a transparent image of politics as a genuine service to the good of all.”

As to the content of education, the Pontiff says that it, “is concerned with the integral formation of the person, including the moral and spiritual dimension.” Thus, “the person cannot be sacrificed for the sake of attaining a particular good, whether this be economic or social, individual or collective.” The papal message warns especially against the, “widespread tendency to have recourse exclusively to the criteria of utility, profit and material possessions.” And recalls that, “we must educate ourselves in compassion, solidarity, working together, fraternity, in being active within the community and concerned to raise awareness about national and international issues and the importance of seeking adequate mechanisms for the redistribution of wealth, the promotion of growth, cooperation for development and conflict resolution.”

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