Catholic World News

Pope decries nationalism in annual address to diplomatic corps

January 07, 2019

Pope Francis expressed keen concern about the rise of nationalism in his annual address to the diplomats accredited to the Holy See.

In his January 7 address the Pontiff said that international relations are “experiencing a period of difficulty, with the resurgence of nationalistic tendencies.” He added: “The reappearance of these impulses today is progressively weakening the multilateral system.”

Multilateral accords are essential to maintaining world peace and allowing for development, the Pope told the assembled ambassadors. He deplored “a search for unilateral solutions” and “tendencies to impose and pursue individual national interests without recourse to the instruments provided by international law.”

Pope Francis gave a strong endorsement to international organizations, noting that this year brings the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the League of Nations and lamenting the demise of that organization—a failure that he attributed to “the domination of the powerful over the weak.” He remarked that “the same attitudes are presently threatening the stability of major international organizations.”

The annual papal address to the diplomatic corps is traditionally views as the Pontiff’s “state of the world” address, and in accordance with that tradition the Pope mentioned several of the world’s trouble spots, including Syria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, and the Middle East. He welcomed an easing of tensions on the Korean peninsula, and voiced his hope for similar progress toward peace in Venezuela.

At the start of his speech, Pope Francis recounted some of the major diplomatic initiatives of the Holy See in the past year. He placed special emphasis on the agreement the Vatican has struck with China, and expressed his satisfaction that “for the first time after so many years, all the bishops in China are in full communion with the Successor of Peter and with the universal Church.”

In his exhortations to the diplomatic corps, the Pope called for international cooperation to promote disarmament, respond to climate change, safeguard the environment, and “provide assistance to all those forced to emigrate on account of the scourge of poverty and various forms of violence and persecution.”

As background for the papal address, the Vatican press office issued an annual account of the Holy See’s diplomatic contacts. The Vatican currently maintains diplomatic relations with 183 countries, as well as the European Union and the Order of Malta.


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  • Posted by: space15796 - Jan. 07, 2019 10:20 PM ET USA

    Well this is’s as if the holy father wanted to check off a box, to be able to say he accomplished something - when he hasn’t. We now have communists selecting bishops? While the true underground church endures further persecution? Can he not see how foolish (least harsh word I could think of) this makes him and all of us look? Evil gets a green light, but hey, the only thing we care about is the stupid green light.

  • Posted by: Bveritas2322 - Jan. 07, 2019 8:19 PM ET USA

    He never considers taking a time out from his economic ignorance, nor the catastrophic anti-family and poverty expanding moral consequences of international law. The Catholic doctrine of subsidiarity will likely escape his attention as much as any all Catholic doctrine.