Pope urges respect for humans and nature in New Year's mass

VATICAN CITY- Pope Benedict XVI called for respect and tolerance in his traditional New Year's Day mass Friday, stressing the values were necessary to ensure world peace and ecological responsibility.
"Respect others, regardless of their skin colour, nationality, language, religion", Benedict said, "even very young, it is important to be taught to respect others, even when they are different to us", he emphasised.

Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI
In his homily before the Vatican diplomatic corps the pontiff noted that it was increasingly common for schools to have children from different nationalities in the classroom.
"Their faces represent the prophecy of humanity that we are invited to develop: a family of families and peoples", Benedict said, adding that the other is "a brother within humanity, not a rival nor an enemy".
Benedict spoke against war and violence, deploring that too often the faces of children were "sunken by hunger and illness, disfigured by pain and hopelessness".
Before these defenceless human beings, "all the false justifications for war and violence fall down".
Benedict appealed for "all weapons to be laid down for a more dignified world".
In his first Angelus blessing of the year, the German pope appealed to the "consciences of those who are involved with armed groups of all kinds".
"Reflect," he said, "and abandon the path of violence".
At New Year's mass the pope also stressed ecological awareness, reiterating his message made public in December and to be read in every parish from Friday, entitled "if you want to cultivate peace, preserve what has already been created".
The pontiff advocated "human ecology", saying "there is a close link" between respect for mankind and respect for nature.
"If humanity shames itself, it damages its environment", Benedict said.
He appealed for "investment in education with the objective not only to transmit technical and scientific concepts, but also a broader and deeper ecological responsibility based on respect for humanity, human rights and fundamental duties".
Benedict revisited the subject during the Angelus blessing, calling for a change in mentalities towards the environment at the level of "each individual, families and local communities".

Saturday, January 2nd 2010

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