Pope Explains How to ‘Tangibly’ Progress Toward Peace and Justice

Francis Also Decries Fundamentalism to New Ambassadors of Kazakhstan, Mauritania, Nepal, Niger, Sudan, Trinidad and Tobago

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The “international scene is at present marked by great complexity, nor is it free of dark clouds,” and this “requires a greater awareness of the approaches and actions needed to pursue the path of peace and to lessen tensions.”

Pope Francis stressed this in his address to the newly accredited Ambassadors to the Holy See from Kazakhstan, Mauritania, Nepal, Niger, Sudan and Trinidad and Tobago with whom he met with this morning, May 18, 2017, in the Vatican.

Francis’ address gave guidance on how the ambassadors can work toward achieving greater peace and justice.

Francis began naming factors “aggravating problems,” including “an economic and financial system that, rather than being at the service of people, is set up principally to serve itself and to evade oversight by public authorities.”

“We also see a greater readiness to have recourse to force, not as a last resort but practically as one means among many, ready to be used without a full consideration of its consequences.”

Another factor exacerbating conflicts, Francis said, is fundamentalism, “the abuse of religion to justify a thirst for power, the manipulation of God’s holy name to advance by any means possible one’s own plans to gain power.”

The response to these distortions and the risks they pose to world peace, the Pope said, must be the creation of a responsible economic and financial system responsive to the needs of individuals and the communities in which they live.

“If we move decisively in this direction, the cause of peace and justice – the conditions of a balanced development for all – will make tangible progress.”

The Holy Father also reminded the ambassadors to extend his greetings to the pastors and faithful of the Catholic communities present in their countries.  “I encourage them to continue their witness of faith and to offer their generous contribution to the common good,” he said.

Here is the Vatican-provided text of Pope Francis’ words:

***

Address of His Holiness Pope Francis

for the Presentation of Credential Letters

by the Ambassadors of Kazakhstan, Mauritania,

Nepal, Niger, Sudan and Trinidad and Tobago

accredited to the Holy See

I am pleased to receive you on the occasion of the presentation of the Letters by which you are accredited as Ambassadors Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of your countries to the Holy See: Kazakhstan, Mauritania, Nepal, Niger, Sudan and Trinidad and Tobago.  I offer a particular welcome to Mrs M’Haiham, the first Ambassador of Mauritania to the Holy See.  I would ask all of you kindly to convey my sentiments of gratitude and respect to your respective Heads of State, with the assurance of my prayers for them and for the peoples whom they represent.

The international scene is at present marked by great complexity, nor is it free of dark clouds.  This requires a greater awareness of the approaches and actions needed to pursue the path of peace and to lessen tensions.  Among the factors aggravating problems is an economic and financial system that, rather than being at the service of people, is set up principally to serve itself and to evade oversight by public authorities.  Those authorities are responsible for the common good, yet they lack the means necessary to moderate the disproportionate appetites of the few.

We also see a greater readiness to have recourse to force, not as a last resort but practically as one means among many, ready to be used without a full consideration of its consequences.

Yet another factor exacerbating conflicts is fundamentalism, the abuse of religion to justify a thirst for power, the manipulation of God’s holy name to advance by any means possible one’s own plans to gain power.

The response to these distortions and the risks they pose to world peace must be the creation of a responsible economic and financial system responsive to the needs of individuals and the communities in which they live.  Men and women, not money, must once more become the goal of the economy!  We must also confront differences with the courageous patience of dialogue and diplomacy, with initiatives of encounter and peace, and not with shows of force and its hasty and ill-advised use.  It is likewise essential to isolate those who seek to turn a religious affiliation or identity into a motive of hate for all others.  Those who befoul the image of God in this way need to be confronted by a concerted commitment to demonstrating that those who honour God’s name save lives, not take them; they bring reconciliation and peace, not division and war; they show mercy and compassion, not indifference and brutality.  If we move decisively in this direction, the cause of peace and justice – the conditions of a balanced development for all – will make tangible progress.

Dear Ambassadors, I would like to express, through you, my greetings to the pastors and faithful of the Catholic communities present in your countries.  I encourage them to continue their witness of faith and to offer their generous contribution to the common good.

As you officially begin your new mission, I extend to you my best wishes and I assure you of the constant support of the various offices of the Roman Curia in the fulfilment of your responsibilities.  To this end, I willingly invoke upon you and your families, as well as all your fellow citizens, an abundance of divine blessings.

[Vatican-provided text]

 

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