On the Fiftieth World Day of Peace, January 1, 2017, Pope Francis’ message to the world promotes nonviolence as a style of politics for peace. In his message, he spoke of nonviolence as being a difficult response, but the only appropriate one to violent conflicts.
He issued a call for nonviolence to all people saying, “It is a challenge to build up society, communities and businesses by acting as peacemakers. It is to show mercy by refusing to discard people, harm the environment, or seek to win at any cost. To do so requires ‘the willingness to face conflict head on, to resolve it and to make it a link in the chain of a new process’. To act in this way means to choose solidarity as a way of making history and building friendship in society. Active nonviolence is a way of showing that unity is truly more powerful and more fruitful than conflict. Everything in the world is inter-connected. Certainly differences can cause frictions. But let us face them constructively and non-violently, so that ‘tensions and oppositions can achieve a diversified and life-giving unity,’ preserving ‘what is valid and useful on both sides’.”
Francis ended with a reminder that “Everyone can be an artisan of peace.” On this World Day of Peace, let us consider how to be creators of peace in our communities.