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Wednesday, 28 March 2001


Your Excellency, Mons. Squicciarini,
Dear Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Priesthood,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1. "Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ" (Phil 1: 2). With this greeting of St Paul, Apostle of the Gentiles, I welcome you to the Apostolic palace, where we have just had the opportunity to celebrate the Eucharist together and to exchange the greeting of peace.

I gladly respond to the courteous words addressed to me on your behalf by the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Donato Squicciarini. As he spoke of our meeting as a great honour, so I too wish to express the deep joy that this occasion gives me:  the presentation of the third volume of my Messages for the World Peace Days from 1993 to 2000.

2. I thank my representative in Austria for his commitment as editor of this impressive work, and for the valuable contribution he is making in this way to the dissemination of the Messages of peace. At the same time, I express my gratitude to all those who have dedicated themselves to studying my thoughts on peace and can thus interpret them competently. Last but not least, I would also like to express my esteem to those who have published with such care this useful volume.

3. The message of peace is more timely than ever in an age when peoples are becoming closer and closer as the space between them is constantly reduced, which gives us the impression that the earthly globe is increasingly being reduced to a "global village". However, despite all the risks and dangers that are doubtless concealed in the globalization process, we must not ignore a phenomenon that represents a sign of hope:  the growing awareness of mutual dependence among individual persons, ethnic groups and nations. The fact that men and women in various parts of the world perceive the injustices and violations of human rights - even if they are perpetrated in far off countries - as though they themselves had suffered them, shows a growing sensitization of hearts.

However, at the same time, there is cause for concern when national interests develop in such a way that the meeting of cultures is no longer seen as an enrichment but as a threat. The developments due to globalization must therefore also touch consciences. In this way the message of peace will acquire a new resonance.

4. The growing network of mutual relations among men and women in important and in small things literally demands solidarity. Indeed peace is only possible if reciprocal dependence already by its nature requires the defeat of every form of exclusion, the renunciation of every form of economic, military or national imperialism and the transformation of mutual diffidence into friendly collaboration. The special act of solidarity among individual persons and among peoples lies precisely in this.

In this context, I would like to recall the motto that my late and esteemed predecessor Pope Pius XII chose for his pontificate:  Opus iustitiae pax. Peace is the fruit of justice. Today this motto can again be seen in the same biblical perspective (cf. Is 32: 17, Jas 3: 18):  Opus solidarietatis pax. Peace is the fruit of solidarity.

If the "peace of weapons" is to grow and to endure in time, man must entrust himself to the "weapons of peace":  these include respect for human dignity, as well as the practice of justice and solidarity. These "weapons of peace" are dropped when the dignity of the human person is not respected, when the weak are oppressed and the poor discriminated against.

5. May this volume help many readers to acquire an ever deeper understanding of the message of peace and to put it into practice in their own lives! Talk about peace must not remain just words; it must also become action. In my heart I cherish the hope that the "culture of peace" will spread further, so that the globe may be encircled by the "net of peace", woven by the "globalization of solidarity". The volume you have prepared and have now published can certaintly contribute to achieving this objective. As a sign of gratitude and an acknowledgement for publishing this book, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing to you.


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