Catholic Culture News
Catholic Culture News
Catholic World News

In address to diplomatic corps, Pope urges hope in times of trouble

January 09, 2020

Pope Francis issued a call for dialogue and peacemaking in his annual address to the Vatican diplomatic corps.

“Sadly, the new year does not seem to be marked by encouraging signs, as much as by heightened tensions and acts of violence,” the Pope remarked in his January 9 address. “Particularly troubling,” he said, “are the signals coming from the entire region following the heightening of tensions between Iran and the United States.”

In spite of these dangers, the Pope said, the Vatican remains committed to the path of peace, recalling that hope is “an essential virtue for Christians, to inspire our way of approaching the times that lie ahead.”

The annual address to the diplomats accredited to the Holy See, traditionally delivered early in the year, is regarded as the Pontiff’s “State of the World” address, and each year the speech is watched for the Pope’s appraisal of current conflicts and his listing of the Vatican’s foreign-policy priorities. In the address Pope Francis recalled his own foreign travels, using them to introduce broader reflections on the regions that he had visited during 2019.

The Pope also briefly mentioned the scandals that have eroded the moral authority of the universal Church, saying that “the Holy See has renewed its commitment to bring to light abuses already committed and to ensure the protection of minors.”

In that context Pope Francis spoke at some length about his proposal for “Reinventing the Global Compact on Religion.” He said that “epochal change” of society in our era calls for a global response: the creation of an “educational village” that will help to train young people and at the same time foster care for the environment.”

“The protection of the home given to us by the Creator cannot be neglected or reduced to an elitist concern,” the Pontiff insisted. He reminded the assembled diplomats that during the Synod for the Amazon, the leaders of the Catholic Church had called particular attention to the plight of the Amazon rain forest as “a biological heart for the increasingly threatened earth.”

Still speaking of the Western hemisphere, Pope Francis noted with alarm a “proliferation of political crises in a number of countries on the American continent.” These conflicts, he said, are caused by “profound forms of inequality, injustice, and endemic corruption.” The Pope mentioned the crisis in Venezuela particularly, although—following his longstanding pattern—he did not offer any explicit public criticism of that country’s regime.

In his tour of the world’s trouble-spots, the Pope mentioned “the pall of silence that risks falling over the war that has devastated Syria over the course of the last decade.” On the African continent, he observed that “it is painful to witness, particularly in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, and Nigeria, continuing episodes of violence against innocent people, including many Christians persecuted and killed for their fidelity to the Gospel.”

The Pontiff reaffirmed the support of the Holy See for the UN, and for the cause of nuclear disarmament. He said that “a world without nuclear weapons is possible and necessary.”

Pope Francis also indicated that the Vatican would continue to support the “European project,” and voiced his hope that European society would show “the Roman pietas and the Christian caritas that have shaped the spirit of the European peoples.”

As he neared the conclusion of his address, the Pope reminded his audience of the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. That event, he said, “reminded us of one of the most painful symbols of the continent’s more recent history and made us realize once again how easy it is to erect barriers.”


For all current news, visit our News home page.

Further information:
Sound Off! supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a current donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

  • Posted by: wenner1687 - Jan. 11, 2020 6:54 AM ET USA

    I refuse to leave the church I love, -- but try to warn everyone that PF is the cat's paw of the NWO though the UN & the EU; and that he has been chosen to be the head of the "one-world religion" which will probably be announced at the opening of the "House of Abraham" in Abu Dhabi.

  • Posted by: shrink - Jan. 10, 2020 7:21 AM ET USA

    The Chinese Catholics could not be reached for a comment.