Peace Sunday 2024

Peace Sunday 2024

This Sunday, 14th January, the Second Sunday of the Year, is also designated as Peace Sunday. It is a day of prayer for peace in the world and one of the Masses this weekend may be a Votive Mass for Peace. Each year, Peace Sunday gives every parish the chance to pray and reflect on the Pope`s Message for the annual World Day of Peace. For his theme for the World Day of Peace in 2024, Pope Francis has chosen ‘Artificial Intelligence and Peace’ (Artificial Intelligence and Peace). Governments around the world are taking the development of AI seriously. In November, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak invited experts and world leaders to a summit, expressly to look at AI and safety. Prior to the summit, he affirmed that, whilst we should not be alarmist, and that there are undoubtedly benefits for humanity in the development of AI, “get this wrong,” he said, “and AI could make it easier to build chemical or biological weapons.” In that light, Pope Francis is raising a highly contemporary theme. For many of us, the first question is: ‘what exactly is ‘Artificial Intelligence?’ Things that humans have traditionally done by thinking and reasoning are increasingly being done by, or with the help of, AI. We are already familiar with a number of its uses – internet search engines like Google, the ability of applications like Amazon, YouTube and Netflix to recommend something to buy, watch or listen to, based on our previous choices, software like ChatGPT which can generate articles and essays, or design software that can generate images.

Pax Christi have produced a series of resources to mark the day. What are our concerns as peacemakers in the development of AI? First there is the direct impact of AI on war and weapons. Drone Wars UK warn that AI is seen by the world’s military powers as a way to revolutionise warfare and gain an advantage over enemies. Worrying military applications of AI are already being rolled out and those in development pose threats to our lives, human rights and wellbeing. Then there are the fundamental concerns that Pope Francis raised when he announced his theme for the World Day of Peace: the need to be vigilant that a “logic of violence and discrimination” doesn’t take root in the development of AI at the expense of the most fragile and excluded; that the advancement of AI does not fuel injustice and inequality and therefore conflict, and, of course, that AI is developed so that it serves humanity and the protection of our common home. It is a theme we will need to keep returning to.

Pax Christi have produced a series of resources to mark the day.
Peace Sunday 2024 – Letter to Parishes from Archbishop Malcolm
Peace Sunday 2024 – Liturgy Booklet
Peace Sunday 2024 – Alternative Homily
Peace Sunday 2024 – Resources for Children
Peace Sunday 2024 – Resource Leaflet
Peace Sunday 2024 – Justpeace and Poster

Image: CBCEW