World leaders must go beyond slogans about peace and begin to practise it both in their own countries and internationally. Pope John Paul H said in his message to mark the World Day of Peace on Monday. "Too often gestures of peace are ridiculously incapable of changing the course of events, even if they are not actually swept away and in the end taken over by the overbearing logic of exploitation and violence," he said.
"Peace has become the slogan which reassures or is meant to beguile."
There had rarely been so much talk of peace, détente, agreement and the rational solution of confilets in conformity with justice, but in too many places fear or the desire for power meant that the arms race prevailed over the great tasks of peace, he said.
Ile added: "We need more than words," and urged people to place their trust in a few elementary but firm principles.
These included the determination to deal with human affairs humanely, not with violence, to settle conflicts by reasonable negotiations and not by force, and to confront opposing ideologies in a climate of dialogue and free discussion.
He attacked "prefabricated formulas" and called on all leaders to learn a new language of peace which would promote "the desire to listen and understand, respect for others, gentleness which is real strength, and trust."
The Pope had a special word for the young: "Resist the easy ways out which lull you into sad mediocrity; resist the sterile violence in which adults who are not at peace with themselves sometimes want to make use of you."
The theme of the message, chosen by Pope Paul before his death last year, was "To reach peace, teach peace", and the Pope said: "I take from my revered predecessor the pilgrim's staff of peace. I am on the road, at your side, with the Gospel of Peace."
Reminding Christians of the special contribution which they could make to peace, he said: "We do not claim to find in the Gospel ready-made formulas for making today this or that advance towards peace. But on almost every page of the Gospel and of the history of the Church we find a 'Spirit -that of brotherly love, powerfully teaching peace."
He concluded by calling on everyone -Christians, believers and men and women of good will -not to be afraid "to take a chance on peace, to teach peace."
He added: "The aspiration for peace will not be disappointed for ever. Work for peace, inspired by the charity which does not pass away, Peace will be the last word of history."