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Pope's peace message: more power to world's young

Pope Benedict XVI blesses the faithful prior to the start of a vespers prayer in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

ROME: Benedict XVI called on the world's political and educational leaders on Friday to empower the younger generations, which have been left feeling frustrated and powerless by the economic crisis.

In his traditional message for World Peace Day on January 1, which was released on Friday, the pope calls on world leaders to "welcome and value" the young, who he encouraged to play their part in building a more "just" future.

"In the year drawing to a close, a feeling of frustration caused by the economic crisis which has hit society, the world of work and the economy, has risen," he says in his speech "Educating young people in justice and peace."

The head of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, who attended the press conference on Friday, said the pope was thinking specifically of the world's "Indignant" protesters.

"A series of protests by young people in Europe, in Latin America, in the United State, revealed a pessimist outlook and despair in the face of the crisis," he said, referring also to the youthful protesters of the Arab spring.

Benedict XVI calls on the young in his speech to realize their "ability to contribute" to building the future and "not be passive subjects, but protagonists" who can set an example for adults.

He asks political leaders "to help families and educational institutions to exercise their right and duty to educate," particularly now, when work conditions are "often hardly compatible with family responsibilities."

 

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