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Pope says organised crime offends God in peace message

'Strikes at human dignity,' Francis says

12 December, 20:01
Pope says organised crime offends God in peace message (By Denis Greenan).

(ANSA) - Vatican City, December 12 - Pope Francis said that corruption and organised crime offends God in his message for 2014 World Peace Day, which the Vatican published Thursday. "An authentic spirit of fraternity overcomes the individual selfishness which conflicts with people's ability to live in freedom and in harmony among themselves," said the message for World Peace Day, January 1.

"Such selfishness develops socially - whether it is in the many forms of corruption, so widespread today, or in the formation of criminal organizations, from small groups to those organized on a global scale," said the pope, who was named Time magazine's Person of the Year on Wednesday "These groups tear down legality and justice, striking at the very heart of the dignity of the person. "These organizations gravely offend God, they hurt others and they harm creation, all the more so when they have religious overtones".

Francis went on to call for consumers to consider living a more "sober" lifestyle and sharing more with the less fortunate in Christian solidarity.

The pope suggested that such a lifestyle makeover could help to promote brotherhood among people.

Promoting fraternity can be achieved by "those who choose to live a sober and essential lifestyle...those who, by sharing their own wealth, thus manage to experience fraternal communion with others," said Francis. "This is fundamental for following Jesus Christ and being truly Christian," he added.

"It is not only the case of consecrated persons who profess the vow of poverty, but also of the many families and responsible citizens who firmly believe that it is their fraternal relationship with their neighbours which constitutes their most precious good".

In his message, Francis also appealed for an end to the world's many conflicts and called for nuclear disarmament.

"Many conflicts are taking place amid general indifference," said the pope.

"The Church also speaks out in order to make leaders hear the cry of pain of the suffering and to put an end to every form of hostility, abuse and the violation of fundamental human rights.

"For this reason, I appeal forcefully to all those who sow violence and death by force of arms: in the person you today see simply as an enemy to be beaten, discover rather your brother or sister, and hold back your hand.

"Give up the way of arms and go out to meet the other in dialogue, pardon and reconciliation, in order to rebuild justice, trust, and hope around you".

Francis also said he shared "the appeal of my predecessors for the non-proliferation of arms and for disarmament of all parties, beginning with nuclear and chemical weapons disarmament".

Also on Thursday, the pontiff urged nations to work to bring an end to the "scourge" of human trafficking, calling it a "real form of slavery".

During comments after meeting a group of ambassadors from around the world, the pope called for concerted efforts to deal with human trafficking, a crime he said particularly targets the weakest and most vulnerable members of society.

That includes children, women, the disabled and the very poor, said Francis.

"In these, we Christians see the face of Jesus Christ, who identified himself with the least and the most needy," said the pope.

"How many times...(can) we tolerate a human being treated as an object...to sell a product or to meet immoral desires," continued the pope. "A human must never be bought and sold like a commodity," said Francis.

"Trafficking in human persons is a crime against humanity".

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