Pope's World Peace Day theme focuses on youth

June 6, 2011

In building a world of peace and justice, the Catholic Church must listen to the ideas and hopes of young people and offer them educational opportunities that will strengthen their ability to work for the common good, the Vatican said.

As part of the Church's efforts, Pope Benedict has chosen Educating Young People in Justice and Peace to be the theme for the Church's 2012 celebration of World Peace Day on Jan. 1.

Announcing the theme May 19, the Vatican said the pope wanted to highlight "an urgent need in the world today: to listen to and enhance the important role of new generations in the realization of the common good.

He also wants to affirm the role of young people in helping to establish "a just and peaceful social order where fundamental human rights can be fully expressed and realized."

The duty to prepare future generations also includes a government obligation to ensure that young people have appropriate opportunities for personal growth, particularly through education and employment, the Vatican statement said.