Pope Francis in a statement written specially for the occasion of New Year said: “May charity and nonviolence govern how we treat each other as individuals, within society and in international life.” The Pontiff wrote this on January 1 World Day of Peace message – the 50th annual papal peace message to the world. This statement termed non- violence as an essential and nonnegotiable key to true and lasting peace.
In his peace message titled “Nonviolence: a Style of Politics for Peace,” the Pontiff said: “When victims of violence are able to resist the temptation to retaliate, they become the most credible promoters of nonviolent peacemaking. In the most local and ordinary situations and in the international order, may nonviolence become the hallmark of our decisions, our relationships and our actions, and indeed of political life in all its forms.”
Throughout this message the Pontiff urged every one and each nation, to heed the clear nonviolent way of Jesus: “Put your sword back into its sheath, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword” (Matt. 26:52). He said that despite Lord Jesus’s message of nonviolence more than 50 countries are involved in armed conflicts. He declared: “Violence is not the cure for our broken world.”
Pope Francis writes, “To be true followers of Jesus today also includes embracing his teaching about nonviolence.” He reminded us that Lord Jesus’ teaching of God’s unconditional love calls us to turn the other cheek, love our enemies and faithfully live the Sermon on the Mount. While remarking to the criticism the Pontiff said: “Nonviolence is sometimes taken to mean surrender, lack of involvement and passivity, but this is not the case,” he says. He referred to prominent nonviolent examples like Mahatma Gandhi, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and “Leymah Gbowee and the thousands of Liberian women, who organized pray-ins and nonviolent protest that resulted in high-level peace talks to end the second civil war in Liberia.”