In the Roman Catholic calendar, January 1st is dedicated to world peace, and Pope Francis has used the occasion to praise the role of women as peacemakers.
Addressing a mass in Saint Peter’s Basilica, Francis said mothers “know how to overcome obstacles and disagreements, and to instil peace.”
"How much violence there is against women,” he continued. “Enough! To hurt a woman is to outrage God, who created humanity from a woman."
Tweeting before the mass the pope said a more peaceful world starts from the hearts of individuals and relationships in the family, and from there builds all the way up to relationships between peoples and nations.
Thousands of Rome residents and tourists, wearing face masks as protection against the spread of the coronavirus, gathered in St. Peter's Square on a sunny, mild day to hear Francis lay out his recipe for world peace, cheering his appearance.
Peace, the pope said, “demands concrete actions. It is built by being attentive to the least, by promoting justice, with the courage to forgive, thus extinguishing the fire of hatred.”
Francis also championed embracing a positive attitude, “one that always sees, in the Church as well as in society, not the evil which divides us, but the good that unites us.”
Francis, who is 85 and vaccinated against the coronavirus, wore a surgical mask during a New Year’s Eve prayer service which a Vatican cardinal presided over at the basilica. It was a rare departure from his shunning of masks during public ceremonies throughout the two-year pandemic.