On Thursday Pope Francis received the credentials of six new ambassadors to the Holy See, telling them to work for the common good and support peace efforts that lessen tensions given the complexity of the global climate.
“The international scene is at present marked by great complexity, nor is it free of dark clouds,” the Pope said May 18. This situation, he added, requires “a greater awareness of the approaches and actions needed to pursue the path of peace and to lessen tensions.”
Francis spoke to ambassadors Ms. Zhanar Aitzhan of Kazakhstan; Ms. Aichetou Mint M’Haiham of Mauritania; Mr. Ramesh Prasad Khanal of Nepal; Mr. Boubacar Boureima of Niger; Mr. Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman of Sudan and Mr. Colin Michael Connelly of Trinidad and Tobago.
He asked them to convey his respect to their respective heads of State, and offered a special greeting to M’Haiham, who is Mauritania’s first ambassador to the Holy See.
In his brief speech, the Pope said there are several factors that aggravate the problems that exist on the global stage, the first of which 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.”
These authorities are responsible for the common good, “yet they lack the means necessary to moderate the disproportionate appetites of the few,” he said, noting that there seems to be an increasing impulse toward violence.
In many ways, there is “a greater readiness to have recourse to force,” he said, “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 current conflicts is “fundamentalism,” the Pope said, pointing specifically to “the abuse of religion to justify a thirst for power” and the “manipulation of God’s holy name to advance by any means possible one’s own plans to gain power.”
Turning to the task the ambassadors themselves will face, Francis said the response to these “distortions” and the risks they pose to promoting peace must be the creation of “a responsible economic and financial system” that is responsive to the needs of both individuals and their communities.
“Men and women, not money, must once more become the goal of the economy!” he said, urging the diplomats to face 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.”
Likewise, Pope Francis also stressed the importance of isolating 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 honor God’s name save lives, not take them,” he said.
If we move more decisively in the direction of peace, mercy and compassion rather than division, war and indifference, then “the cause of peace and justice – the conditions of a balanced development for all – will make tangible progress,” he said.
Francis then offered his personal greetings to the Catholic population in each of the six countries represented by the ambassadors, and assured the diplomats of the constant support of the Roman Curia in fulfilling their duties.
by Elise Harris