Holy Father’s New Year’s Message: Youth and Social Doctrine of the Church

The Holy Father has released his 2012 message to the world. It is entitled, in English, Educating Young People in Justice and Peace.

He begins by asking the question, “With what attitude should we look to the New Year?” His answer is, “I invite you to look to 2012 with (an) attitude of confident trust” even if, as he acknowledges, there is a rising sense of frustration at the “crisis looming over society, the world of labour and the economy, a crisis whos roots are primarily cultural and anthropological.”

He reminds us that the young are the reservoirs of hope and trust, and thus he turns his thoughts to them and the contributions they can make to society, and he reminds us that parents and other educators have a vital role in the education of these youth so they may come to a full appreciation of themselves and the common good of all.

He appeals to educational institutions, governments and the world of the media to contribute to the proper education of youth.

As he so often does, as did his predecessor Blessed Pope John Paul II, he reaffirms the centrality of the human person who finds true freedom in the truth, a truth found only in the recognition of each human person’s relationship with God and without which no true freedom exists. He states that the freedom which is ours can only be exercised by coming to know the natural moral law and the nature of humanity itself. This requires a disengagement from the relativism that permeates contemporary culture, a relativism that only leads to injustice among individuals and societies.

Justice, then, has transcendent roots. Because it has such roots, it is bound by the demands of charity and solidarity. (All of this is so eloquently discussed in the Church’s social doctrine.)

He states that peace “is not merely a gift to be received: it is also a task to be undertaken.” Peacemakers, without educating ourselves in compassion, solidarity, cooperation and activity with the community, a “redistribution of wealth” and the promotion of growth, will fail.

In short, the Pope’s 2012 message, though directed to the youth and their education, is a primer on the Church’s social doctrine. It is easily read and a good catechesis for all of us to absorb.

You may read it at: http://press.catholica.va/news_services/bulletin/news/28555.php?index=28555&lang=en


About Deacon Bob

Moderator: Deacon Bob Yerhot of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester, Minnesota.
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