Pope Benedict rang in the new year with a Mass for about 10,000 people in St Peter’s Basilica Tuesday, as the Church marked its World Day of Peace.
The 85-year-old pontiff spoke of peace both during
and after the Mass, addressing thousands who had followed the service
from outside in St Peter’s Square.
“A new year is like a
trip. With the light and the grace of God, may it be the start of a path
to peace for every person, every family, every country, and for the
entire world,” he said from his window overlooking the square.
He thanked the world’s peacemakers, saying they deserve praise for
working, often behind the scenes, tirelessly, thanklessly, and armed
only “with the weapons of prayer and forgiveness”.
Peace marchers carrying rainbow banners released blue balloons in St Peter’s Square as he spoke.
Earlier in his homily, the leader of the world’s 1.2bn Roman
Catholics decried “hotbeds of tension and conflict caused by growing
instances of inequality between rich and poor”.
also denounced “the prevalence of a selfish and individualistic mindset”
which he said “finds expression in an unregulated capitalism, various
forms of terrorism, and criminality”.
He said he was convinced of “humanity’s innate vocation to peace”, despite many problems and setbacks.
A personal relationship with God can help all believers deal with what
he called the “darkness and anguish” that sometimes defines human