In a brief communique made public today the theme was announced of the 40th World Peace Day, due to be celebrated on January 1, 2007: "The Human Person: Heart of Peace."
This theme for reflection, chosen by the Holy Father, "expresses the conviction that respect for the dignity of the human person is an essential condition for peace within the human family," says the communique. "Only through an awareness of the transcendent dignity of each man and woman can the human family follow the path that leads to peace and to communion with God."
The communique continues: "Today, perhaps more persuasively and with more effective means than in the past, human dignity is threatened by aberrant ideologies, assailed by the misguided use of science and technology, and contradicted by widespread incongruent lifestyles. Indeed, ideologies that find their inspiration in nihilism or fanaticism (material or religious) seek to deny or to impose supposed truths upon reality, upon man and upon God."
The note highlights the fact that "often science and technology (especially biomedicine), rather than serving the common good of humanity, are instrumental in serving an egotistical vision of progress and wellbeing. Moreover, propaganda and the growing acceptance of disordered lifestyles contrary to human dignity are weakening the hearts and minds of people to the point of extinguishing the desire for ordered and peaceful coexistence. All this represents a threat to humanity, because peace is in danger when human dignity is not respected and when social coexistence does nor seek the common good.
"The Church," the communique adds, "has the mission of announcing the Gospel of Life, the central position of mankind in the universe and God's love for humanity. Therefore, to the challenges of the present time, the Church responds with a Christian anthropology based on the three pillars of human dignity, sociality and activity in the world, oriented in accordance with the order stamped by God on the universe, and with a view to an integral and solidary humanism that tends towards the development of all of man and of all men."
The communique concludes by affirming that "any offence to the person is a threat to peace; any threat to peace is an offence to the truth of the person: 'The human person is the heart of peace'."