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Revenge is a dish best binned, pope says

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Pope Francis  / AFP PHOTO / TIZIANA FABI

Pope Francis / AFP PHOTO / TIZIANA FABI

Pope Francis is asking the world’s political, economic, religious and media leaders to swap aggression, mud-slinging and revenge for “non-violence” in his annual message of peace published Monday.

His slogan? “Non-violence as a style of politics for peace”. And those with clout in an increasingly poisonous society should be “refusing to discard people, harm the environment, or seek to win at any cost”.

The Argentine’s message — which will be read out in Catholic churches on January 1, 2017 — was published after a particularly intense weekend of violence, from a deadly bombing in Turkey to an attack on a Coptic church in Egypt.

It also comes amid debate about the growth of fake and malicious online news, and its possible influence on the US presidential election and Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.

The pope cited Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King as models of non-violent peacemakers and said: “Violence is not the cure for our broken world. Countering violence with violence leads at best to forced migrations and enormous suffering.”

The 79-year old said non-violence “is sometimes taken to mean surrender, lack of involvement and passivity, but this is not the case”.

“When victims of violence are able to resist the temptation to retaliate, they become the most credible promotors of nonviolent peacemaking,” he said.

The pontiff said his message was not just aimed at the faithful but was “a programme and a challenge for political and religious leaders, the heads of international institutions, and business and media executives”.


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