The Pope said this today during an address before praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter's Square. He also announced the names of the 20 new cardinals to be created in the upcoming February consistory.
Recalling that Jan. 1 is the World Day of Peace, and that his message for this year focused on slavery, the Holy Father said, "My hope is that the exploitation of man by man would be overcome."
"Each person, and every people hungers and thirsts for peace; therefore, it is necessary and urgent to build peace!"
The Pontiff affirmed that peace is more than an absence of war, and is rather "a general condition in which the human person is in harmony with himself, with nature, and with others."
"We must convince ourselves, despite any appearances to the contrary, that concord is always possible, at every level and in every situation," he pleaded. "There is no future without proposals and projects for peace!"
Citing the Old Testament, the Bishop of Rome noted that peace is a promise of God, and is proclaimed as a special gift of God at the birth of Christ.
"Such a gift requires that we seek it incessantly in prayer and welcome it every day with commitment, in the situations in which we find ourselves," he said. "At the dawn of a new year, we are all called to rekindle in our hearts an impulse of hope, that should result in concrete works of peace, reconciliation, and fraternity.
"Each one, in his own role and responsibility, can accomplish gestures of fraternity in dealing with one’s neighbor, especially with those who are tried by family tensions or by disagreements of different kinds. These small gestures have great value: they can be the seeds that give hope, they can open paths and prospects of peace."
The Pope concluded by inviting prayer to Mary, Queen of Peace. "She, during her earthly life, knew no small difficulties, joined to the daily fatigue of existence," he said. "But she never lost peace of heart, the fruit of trustful abandonment to the mercy of God. Let us ask Mary, our tender Mother, to show to the whole world the sure path of love and of peace."