VATICAN CITY – True peacemakers defend human life at every stage of its existence and promote the common good through their economic policies and activities, Pope Benedict said.
In his annual message for the World Day of Peace Jan. 1, Pope Benedict said attacks on human dignity and human rights undermine efforts to bring peace to the world.
Those attacks, he said, range from abortion and euthanasia to limits on religious freedom, and from religious fanaticism to "unregulated financial capitalism."
True peacemakers, the pope said, "are those who love, defend and promote human life in all its dimensions."
Pope Benedict said true peacemakers must work to counter the increasingly popular notion that "economic growth should be pursued even to the detriment of the state's social responsibilities."
The right to have a steady job is one social right that is most under threat today, he said. With an emphasis on free markets, the right and need to work is too often treated simply as a market variable.
The current economic model, the one that led to the global economic crisis, promotes "maximum profit and consumption," which basically is a selfish, individualistic approach, the pope said.
Pope Benedict said peacemakers must pay attention to "the food crisis, which is graver than the financial crisis" today.
According to the UN's World Food Program, some 870 million people in the world are "chronically hungry," and hunger kills more people each year than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.