“Slaves no more, but brothers and sisters” is the theme of this year’s ‘World Day of Prayer for Peace’ on Sunday January 18 th.
Pope Francis chose the title and says: ‘brotherhood & sisterhood requires us to reject any inequality which would allow one person to enslave another’ Modern slavery is a reality, not only on distant cocoa-plantations in Côte d’Ivoire, but in our own high-streets and housing estates, where victims of trafficking are forced to work as prostitutes or domestic servants. With the rise of violence in so many countries other forms of slavery & exploitation such as ‘trafficking’ & ‘child soldiers’ are on the increase. What all these forms of slavery have in common is a lack of respect for the God-given dignity of each person. We are caught up in this violation of the rights of our exploited brothers and sisters whenever we choose not to care, when we don’t welcome the refugee. We become implicated in this exploitation when we don’t ask questions about how our food, clothing and gadgets are produced, and at what cost to others, Pope Francis describes slavery as ‘an open wound on the body of the human family – a running sore on the flesh of Christ’.
Please spend a few minutes reading stories from people caught up in slavery, together with excerpts from Pope Frances’s 2015 Peace Message which will be on a display in the Social area next Sunday. There will be a retiring collection for Pax Christi who work tirelessly to combat all forms of exploitation & slavery.