The Bishops of England and Wales invite us to make today a day of prayer for world peace and to reflect on the theme chosen by Pope Francis for the annual World Day of Prayer for Peace (celebrated in Rome and elsewhere on January 1st): ‘Slaves no more, but brothers and sisters’. Perhaps we thought that slavery was a thing of the past, ended in the British Empire through the efforts of William Wilberforce, and long-since driven from the plantations that supply our food and the factories that produce the goods we use. But in recent years we have begun to recognise many new forms of slavery alongside the older ones – the child soldiers in many foreign wars, for instance, and (more shocking still) people trafficked for domestic service, for sexual exploitation and for the drugs trade hidden within our own communities.
What all those forms of slavery have in common is a lack of respect for the God-given dignity of each person. And we are caught up in this violation of the rights of our brothers and sisters whenever we choose not to care – about how our goods were produced and at what cost to others. At the beginning of our Celebration, let us acknowledge our fault; and let us turn to Christ who came that all might belong and live as brothers and sisters under the one God.
For the full text of the Pope’s message follow the link http://en.radiovaticana.va/