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POPE-PEACEDAY Jul-16-2012 (290 words) xxxi

'Blessed are the peacemakers' is theme of 2013 World Peace Day

(CNS/Isabella Bonotto, Catholic Press Photo)

By Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Threats to religious liberty and other basic rights, the global financial crisis and crises in politics and education signal a "worrying crisis of democracy," said a note from the Vatican announcing Pope Benedict XVI's choice of a theme for World Peace Day 2013.

In a message reflecting on the theme, "Blessed are the peacemakers," the pope will offer "an ethical reflection" on measures that the global community is considering or should adopt in response to the various crises afflicting many countries around the world, said a Vatican communique published July 16.

Announcing the theme for the Jan. 1 peace day, the Vatican said Pope Benedict's message -- which usually is released in December -- also would mark the 50th anniversary of Blessed John XXIII's encyclical, "Pacem in Terris" ("Peace on Earth").

Speaking about the encyclical in April, Pope Benedict said that while the world has changed significantly in the past 50 years, "Pope John's encyclical was and is a powerful summons to engage in that creative dialogue between the church and the world, between believers and nonbelievers, which the Second Vatican Council set out to promote."

The late pope's plea for peace, for respect for human dignity and freedom and, more basically, for respect for what is right and good, holds out "a message of hope to a world that is hungry for it, a message that can resonate with people of all beliefs and none, because its truth is accessible to all," Pope Benedict had said.

Announcing the 2013 peace day theme, the Vatican said Pope John's encyclical affirmed the essential place of human dignity and human freedom in the effort to build a peaceful society, dedicated to promoting the common good.


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