Peace Must Be Taught From Childhood, Says Pope

Greets Youngsters of Catholic Action

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 30, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Childhood isn't too early to start teaching about peace, says John Paul II.



In his Angelus address to the crowds gathered today in St. Peter's Square, the Pope encouraged efforts to educate children and youngsters in peace, insisting that concord cannot be improvised.

The Holy Father emphasized this need shortly before two children of Catholic Action set two doves free from the window of his study, to mark the end of January, a "month of peace" for youngsters of the ecclesial movement.

At first, the doves did not want to leave the Papal Apartments. With an amused smile, the Holy Father had to wave his hands so that they would take off.

Among the children of Catholic Action present in St. Peter's Square were some from 23 countries at war.

When greeting the youngsters, John Paul II reminded them of one of the beatitudes cited in the Gospel passage of this today's liturgy: "Blessed are the peacemakers."

"Even little ones can do so! They too must practice dialogue and learn to 'overcome evil with good,'" said the Pope, echoing a theme of his recent Message for the World Day of Peace.

"Injustice must be overcome with justice, lies with truth, revenge with forgiveness, hatred with love," he said.

"This style of life is not improvised, but requires education from childhood," the Holy Father said. "An education made up of wise teachings and above all of valid models in the family, in school, and in every realm of society.

"Parishes, oratories, associations, movements and ecclesial groups must become increasingly privileged places of this pedagogy of peace and love, where on learns to grow together."

The Holy Father concluded by praying to "Mary, Queen of Peace," to "help young people, who so desire peace, to become its courageous and tenacious builders."