Today, there are more than 30 ongoing armed conflicts in the world. They have left a countless number of people dead and have created more than 60 million refugees, the same number that the world had after World War II.
Before the suffering of millions of people, Pope Francis is calling on the world to overcome indifference. It's the central message of the 49th World Day of Peace, which the Vatican has just introduced. The document is called, "Overcome Indifference and Win Peace.”
CARD. PETER TURKSON
President, Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace
"Our time is characterized by an attitude of general indifference, an indifference that has overcome the individual to assume a global dimension and give a place for the phenomenon that Pope Francis defines as the 'globalization of indifference.'”
The Pope enumerates some forms of this phenomenon. He stresses that the first indifference is before God, "which then leads to indifference to one’s neighbor and to the environment.”
He also laments that because people see violence so often, they become desensitized to the trouble that others face. He adds that "almost imperceptibly, we grow incapable of feeling compassion for others and for their problems.”
Under Secretary, Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace
"It seems to me that one of the Pope's objectives is to animate our consciences. It is something he has done from the start. It has been very evident from the start, since he was in Lampedusa and spoke of the 'globalization of indifference.'”
Included is a denunciation of the unjust policies that trample the rights of others. They also affect the environment, leading to contamination and natural catastrophes. The Pope says this creates more poverty as people are required to leave their homes.
Facing this situation, the Pope invites everyone to a "conversion of heart” that includes "compassion, mercy and solidarity of which we are capable.”
For that reason, he's launching a three-pronged call: That wars should be avoided; that the debt of poor countries should be forgiven or responsibily dealt with; and that policies should be established to respect human life, especially "the fundamental and inalienable right to life of the unborn.”