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Pope Benedict with young people

Pope Benedict urges young people to work for peace

In his message for New Year's Day, Pope Benedict urges young people to work for peace.

Pope Benedict XVI believes the various crises that afflicted society in 2011 can be met with hope in the coming year if parents introduce young people to Jesus and teach them Christian values.

“It is not ideologies that save the world, but only a return to the living God, our Creator, the guarantor of our freedom, the guarantor of what is really good and true,” the Pope says in his message for World Day of Peace, which will be observed Jan. 1, 2012.

“And what could ever save us apart from love? Love takes delight in truth, it is the force that enables us to make a commitment to truth, to justice, to peace, because it bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things,” he writes.

In his address, the Pope says that people should look to 2012 with an “attitude of confident trust,” despite the “crisis looming over society, the world of labour and the economy” in 2011. He describes how, for many, “a shadow has fallen over our time, preventing us from clearly seeing the light of day.”

And yet “human hearts continue to wait for the dawn” with that type of expectation that is “particularly powerful and evident in young people,” Pope Benedict says.  He is convinced that “the young, with their enthusiasm and idealism, can offer new hope to the world.”

The Pope says that realizing this hope will involve “communicating to young people an appreciation for the positive value of life” and “awakening in them a desire to spend their lives in the service of the Good.”

This job of education in justice and peace, adds the Pope, must be carried out by adults who do not “simply parcel out rules and facts” but who are “authentic witnesses” that live out what they teach.

Pope Benedict concludes with a challenge to young people to “not yield to discouragement in the face of difficulties and do not abandon yourselves to false solutions which often seem the easiest way to overcome problems.”

Young people should not be afraid of commitment, hard work, sacrifice and the choice of paths in life that “demand fidelity and constancy, humility and dedication,” he writes.

“Be confident in your youth and its profound desires for happiness, truth, beauty and genuine love. Live fully this time in your life so rich and so full of enthusiasm.”

In doing so, young people can be assured that they are “never alone,” because the Church offers them confidence, encouragement and “the most precious gift she has: the opportunity to raise your eyes to God, to encounter Jesus Christ, who is himself justice and peace.”

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