Every January 1st the Pope offers a message to encourage peace in our world.  This year’s message focuses on religious freedom as a path to peace. 

“Religious freedom, like every freedom, proceeds from the personal sphere and is achieved in relationship with others. Freedom without relationship is not full freedom. Religious freedom is not limited to the individual dimension alone, but is attained within one’s community and in society, in a way consistent with the relational being of the person and the public nature of religion.”

In the message the Holy Father emphasizes the full dignity of the human person which much continually be maintained and safeguarded (a dignity which includes religious expression) while calling to task both secular regimes and politically oppressive regimes that subvert this basic freedom.  Below is the full text. 

The Pope’s message is followed by the vocal stylings of Elvis Costello and friends singing, “Whats so funny about peace, love and understanding?”. 

Lets just hope and pray that the world, nations, governments and peoples pay heed as we begin this new year…