Photo by hickory hardscrabble. This photo was taken on August 26, 2007. Licensed under Creative Commons.
It has become my Christmas blogging tradition to post about the most recent Vatican message for the World Day of Peace on Christmas Day.
This year Pope Benedict XVI wrote about "Religious Freedom, the Path to Peace".
The Holy Father says "The right to religious freedom is rooted in the very dignity of the human person". This dignity is the "capacity to transcend one’s own materiality and to seek truth". Moreover, he says "religious freedom should be understood, then, not merely as immunity from coercion, but even more fundamentally as an ability to order one’s own choices in accordance with truth."
Pope Benedict emphasizes that "religious freedom is not the exclusive patrimony of believers, but of the whole family of the earth’s peoples".
He asserts that religious freedom is a path to peace:
"In a globalized world marked by increasingly multi-ethnic and multi-religious societies, the great religions can serve as an important factor of unity and peace for the human family. On the basis of their religious convictions and their reasoned pursuit of the common good, their followers are called to give responsible expression to their commitment within a context of religious freedom. Amid the variety of religious cultures, there is a need to value those elements which foster civil coexistence, while rejecting whatever is contrary to the dignity of men and women."
On this glorious day of peace may we be inspired to respect the dignity and worth of all members of our human family, and may all religious and secular traditions unite to pursue our common good and peace for all.
Merry Christmas everyone!