Here is a ZENIT translation of the address Pope Francis gave today to new ambassadors to the Holy See from Guinea, Latvia, India and Bahrain.
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I am pleased to receive you on the occasion of the presentation of the Letters that accredit you as Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassadors of your countries to the Holy See: Guinea, Latvia, India and Bahrain. I thank you for the greetings you transmitted to me on behalf of your respective Heads of State and, in return, I wish to have transmitted to them, through your courtesy, my best wishes for their persons and for the carrying out of the high task entrusted to them. I pray God to grant to all your fellow citizens to live in peace and prosperity.
The Message for the forthcoming World Day of Peace, for which I chose the topic “Overcome Indifference and Win Peace,” was published two days ago. I am happy for today’s occasion to share with you attention to this challenge, which is so important: to collaborate together to promote in the world a culture of solidarity, which can oppose the globalization of indifference that, unfortunately, is one of the negative tendencies of our time. Many are the ways in which this attitude of indifference is manifested, and diverse also are the causes that concur to fuel it, but they are reduced essentially to an unbalanced humanism, in which man has taken God’s place and, therefore, has remained in turn a victim of several forms of idolatry. The very grave ecological crisis we are going through can also be traced back to this anthropological imbalance. (cf. Encyclical Laudato Si’, 115-121).
Indifference to God, to one’s neighbor and to the environment are linked to one another and fuel each other and, therefore, can only be opposed with an answer that addresses them all together, namely, with a renewed humanism, which puts the human being again in a correct relation with the Creator, with others and with Creation. As I said, it is about promoting a culture of solidarity and sharing, and this requires the commitment of all those that have responsibilities in the political, social, cultural and educational ambit. In this challenge, a decisive role is also played by the mass-media, which in our days influence in a notable measure personal and social attitudes. Therefore, it is necessary to focus on the professional and ethical qualification of the workers of this sector. At the same time, it remains indispensable to continue to invest in the school, not considered in an isolated way but in constant relation with families and with the social context, collaborating to reinforce an educational alliance that in diverse countries has been greatly weakened.
All this is necessary to overcome indifference and build peace. The year that is about to end was marked, unfortunately, by the multiplication of violent conflicts, be they bellicose or terrorist. On the other hand, this situation is arousing increasingly in more mature consciences, a non-violent but spiritual and moral reaction. It is this that we wish and must nourish with the means at our disposition and according to our responsibilities. In keeping with her mission, with the Jubilee of Mercy that has just begun, the Catholic Church proposes to spread throughout the world the spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation, calling the faithful and men and women of good will to open themselves to the gift of God’s grace and to practice what in our tradition are the “works of spiritual and corporal mercy.” “Civil society is likewise called to make specific and courageous gestures of concern for their most vulnerable members, such as prisoners, migrants, the unemployed and the infirm” (Message for the World Day of Peace 2016, 8). Moreover, in this Jubilee Year, I wish to formulate an “appeal to national leaders for concrete gestures in favour of our brothers and sisters who suffer from the lack of labour, land and lodging” (Ibid.). On the international plane, I earnestly hope that every Nation will commit itself to renew its relations with the others, cooperating actively for the growth of fraternity also in the great family of peoples. (cf. Ibid.).
Mister Ambassadors, before ending these reflections, I would like to address, through you, my fraternal greeting to the Pastors and faithful of the Catholic communities present in your countries. I encourage them cordially to collaborate always in a loyal way to the common good of the whole society. And they will be able to do so better and all the more, the more full religious freedom is accorded to them. For its part, the Holy See is honored to be able to establish with each one of you and with the countries you represent an open and respectful dialogue and a constructive collaboration. In this perspective, while your new mission begins officially, I express to you my best wishes, assuring you of the constant support of the different offices of the Roman Curia in carrying out your function. I invoke upon each one of you, upon your families and your collaborators an abundance of Divine Blessings.
[Original text: Italian]
[Translation by ZENIT]