Pope Francis world crises, Pope slams leaders on ‘weak’ response.
Pope Francis focused on the virtue of ‘hope’ in his annual greetings to members of the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See. Hope, he said, “is an essential virtue for Christians, to inspire our way of approaching the times that lie ahead”.
Noting that “peace and integral human development are… the principal aim of the Holy See in its involvement in the field of diplomacy”, the Pope’s speech focused heavily on calls for dialogue and for concerted international action on various issues facing the world today.
Apostolic Visits an opportunity for dialogue
The Pontiff recalled his numerous Apostolic Visits over the course of the past year, beginning with the journey to Panama for World Youth Day. “It is always a joy and a great opportunity to meet young people”, he said. “They are the future and hope of our societies”. He acknowledged the “grave crimes” committed against young people by adults, including members of the clergy, and noted that, with the Meeting for the Protection of Minors in the Church, “the Holy See has renewed its commitment to bring to light abuses already committed and to ensure the protection of minors”.
He highlighted the need for adults to assume their “proper educational responsibilities”, and noted the upcoming event on “Reinventing the Global Compact on Religion”. The Pope likewise said that the “epochal change” we are now experiencing calls for the creation of an “educational village” for forming human relationships, while noting the primary right of families to educate, and of churches and communities to assist them in the task.
Combatting climate change
In the context of being open to dialogue with young people, and listening to their concerns, the Pope raised the issue of climate change, with calls for ecological conversion on the part of all. He lamented the lack of commitment of the international community in addressing the challenges facing our common home. Ecology was an important theme of the Synod on the Amazon, the Pope said, which was primarily an ecclesial event.
Pope Francis also highlighted the “proliferation of political crises” in countries in the Americas, mentioning Venezuela in particular. Although rooted in diverse causes, these crises, he said, are linked by inequality, injustice, corruption and poverty. It is necessary, he said, to establish a “culture of dialogue” to respond to those issues.
Mutual understanding and peaceful coexistance
On his second journey in 2019, Pope Francis travelled to the United Arab Emirates, where he signed the Document on Human Fraternity with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, focused on fostering mutual understanding and peaceful coexistence. He emphasized the need to train future generations in interreligious dialogue.
During his visit to Morocco, the Holy Father signed a joint appeal, with King Muhammed VI, on Jerusalem – a holy city for the world’s three great monotheistic religions, which, the Pope said, should be a symbolic place of peaceful coexistence.
International commitment to peace
The Pope called on the international community to be engaged in the peace process, not only in the Holy Land, but throughout the Mediterranean region and the Middle East. He pointed in particular to the war in Syria, and ongoing conflicts in Yemen and Libya. And in view of the heightened tensions between Iran and the United States, he renewed his appeal “that all the interested parties avoid an escalation of the conflict and ‘keep alive the flame of dialogue and self-restraint’, in full respect of international law”.