Pope Benedict XVI marked the start of the new year with an appeal on Tuesday for world peace, calling it a "divine gift" and stressing the traditional family as the foundation for it.
The Catholic Church celebrates Jan. 1 as World Day of Peace, and the pope used a midmorning Mass and a window appearance before thousands of faithful in St Peter's Square to mark the occasion.
In his homily, he called for "the gift of peace: for our families, our cities and the whole world."
In his New Year's Eve speech the day before, he lamented what he called the "trivialization" of sexuality and the lack of faith among young people
"Not a few people -- especially the young -- are attracted to a false exaltation, or rather, a profanation of the body and the trivialization of sexuality," Benedict said on Monday. "In other words, even in Rome one feels this deficit of hope and faith in life that constitutes the dark evil of modern Western society."
In his sermon on Tuesday, he focused on peace, saying it called for "patience."
"We all aspire to live in peace, but real peace ... is not the simple conquest of man or the result of political agreements. It is, above all, a divine gift," Benedict said. At the same time, the pope said, peace is a "commitment that must be pursued with patience."
Family is the "first and irreplaceable educator of peace," Benedict said. Denying or restricting the rights of the family "threatens the very foundations of peace."
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