By John Connolly

VATICAN CITY, December 11, 2007 ( – In preparation for the upcoming 41st World Day of Peace, Pope Benedict XVI released a document today outlining the importance of the family as the key for peace in the world.

“The Human Family, A Community of Peace” was the pope’s choice for the January 1st Day of Peace celebration, in which he defined the family as “a divine institution that stands at the foundation of life of the human person as the prototype of every social order.”

“Indeed,” wrote the pope, “In a healthy family life we experience some of the fundamental elements of peace: justice and love between brothers and sisters, the role of authority expressed by parents, loving concern for the members who are weaker because of youth, sickness or old age, mutual help in the necessities of life, readiness to accept others and, if necessary, to forgive them. For this reason, the family is the first and indispensable teacher of peace. It is no wonder, therefore, that violence, if perpetrated in the family, is seen as particularly intolerable.”

Benedict reaffirmed the rights of the family, and insisted that those rights not be infringed upon or denied. If these rights are denied, he warned that peace would be inevitably destroyed at its most tender root.

“The denial or even the restriction of the rights of the family,” he wrote, “By obscuring the truth about man, threatens the very foundations of peace.”

Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, presented the message to the press, highlighting important elements of the document, particularly the pope’s treatment of war in the post 9/11 world.

Benedict called for a universal nuclear disarmament in the document, after explaining that the current situation with nuclear arms encouraged an arms race among nations.

See Full Text of Document:

Message of the celebration of the World Day of Peace 2008….

Message of the celebration of the World Day of Peace 2008 (Spanish)….

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