On January 1st each year the Church marks the World Day of Peace, a tradition begun by Pope Paul VI who held the first such observance in January 1968. This year Pope Francis has chosen to focus his second World Peace Day message on the theme of modern slavery and trafficking, with the title “Slaves no more, but Brothers and Sisters”.
Before speaking on the role of the church in sharing Jesus, the pontiff meditated on Mary’s place in loving and raising him, saying: “Christ and his mother are inseparable.”
In the message Pope Francis states so many ways in which people continue to be enslaved and exploited today: in domestic or agricultural work, in the manufacturing or mining industry, migrants living and working in inhuman conditions, child soldiers, women forced into arranged marriages, and those trafficked for organ transplants, drug smuggling, begging or other illegal activities. As well as praising the “silent efforts” of so many religious to support and rehabilitate the victims, the Pope also calls for “a shared commitment” by States, businesses, intergovernmental organisations and individuals to “offer hope, open doors” and help combat this intolerable crime against humanity.