Pope Francis has urged people of all religions and cultures to unite to fight modern slavery and human trafficking. In his first Mass of 2015, he said that everyone had a God-given right to be free, the Euro News website reports today (January 1, 2015).
Today's service at St. Peter's Basilica marks the Roman Catholic Church's World Day of Peace. This year's theme is "No Longer Slaves, but Brothers and Sisters."
"All of us are called to be free, all are called to be sons and daughters, and each, according to his or her own responsibilities, is called to combat modern forms of enslavement. From every people, culture, and religion, let us join our forces," he said.
The pope has made defense of migrants and workers a central issue of his papacy. At a Vespers service on New Year's Eve, he condemned administrators and criminals in Rome accused of pocketing public funds meant to help poor migrants, urging a "spiritual and moral renewal."