I wish you a warm welcome and I am happy to receive the Letters which accredit you as Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassadors of your respective countries to the Holy See: Iceland, Bangladesh, Syria, Gambia and Kazakhstan. In conveying my greetings to your respective Heads of State, please assure them of my remembrance in prayer for the performance of their service. My thoughts go out in particular to the beloved Syrian people, who have yet to recover from the recent violent earthquake, amid the continuing suffering caused by the armed conflict.
If we look closely at the current situation in the world, even a superficial look could confuse and discourage us. Think of many places like Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burma, Lebanon and Jerusalem, which face conflict and disorder. Haiti continues to go through a serious social, economic and humanitarian crisis. Then, of course, there is the ongoing war in Ukraine, which has caused untold suffering and death. Furthermore, we are seeing an increase in the flow of forced migration, the effects of climate change and many of our brothers and sisters around the world who are still living in poverty due to lack of access to drinking water, food, basic health care, education and decent work. There is undoubtedly an imbalance in the global economic system.
When will we learn from history that the path of violence, oppression and unbridled ambition to conquer land does not promote the common good? When will we learn that it is always better to invest in people’s well-being than to spend resources building lethal weapons? When will we learn that social, economic and security issues are all interconnected? When will we learn that we are one human family, which can only truly thrive when all its members are respected, cared for and able to offer their contribution in original ways? Until we come to this awareness, we will continue to experience what I have defined as a piecemeal World War III. Undoubtedly this description seems to disturb our sensitivity, especially the satisfaction in front of the extraordinary technological and scientific progress reached or the steps already accomplished to face the social questions and to further develop international law. While all these results are certainly commendable, we must never feel satisfied or worse, indifferent to the current situation in the world, nor fail to guarantee that all our brothers and sisters can benefit from these conquests and these developments.
At the same time, we must also remain optimistic and determined in our certainty that the human family is able to successfully meet the challenges of our time. In this regard, let us look at the service that you, dear ambassadors, are called to perform. As you well know, the function of ambassador is ancient and noble. It was even introduced into the Christian Scriptures by the apostle Paul, when he used this term to describe the heralds of Jesus Christ (cf. 2 Cor 5:20). Indeed, the positive role of the ambassador is attested at all times and in various types of situation. If you allow me, I would like to share some brief thoughts on this topic. As a man or woman of dialogue, builder of bridges, the ambassador can be a figure of hope. Hope in the ultimate goodness of mankind. Hope that common ground is possible because we are all part of the human family. Hope that the last word has never been said to avoid a conflict or resolve it peacefully. Hope that peace is not an impossible dream. While continuing to serve his home country faithfully, the Ambassador seeks to put aside superfluous emotions and overcome entrenched positions to find acceptable solutions. And that is certainly not an easy task. The voice of reason and calls for peace often fall into the void. However, the current world situation only further underlines the need for ambassadors and their colleagues to be promoters of dialogue, champions of hope. The Holy See appreciates the important role you perform, as demonstrated by your diplomatic engagement at the bilateral and multilateral level.
For its part, the Holy See, in conformity with its nature and particular mission, undertakes to protect the inviolable dignity of each person, to promote the common good and to foster human fraternity among all peoples. These efforts, which are not aimed at pursuing political, commercial or military objectives, are achieved through the exercise of positive neutrality. Far from being “ethical neutrality”, especially in the face of human suffering, this gives the Holy See a well-defined position within the international community, which allows it to better contribute to the resolution of conflicts and other issues.
In light of these observations, I am certain that you will have many opportunities to collaborate with the Holy See on themes of common interest. In this regard, I can assure you that the Secretariat of State, together with the dicasteries and offices of the Holy See, will always be ready to establish an open and honest dialogue with you, collaborating for the betterment of the family human. As you begin this new service, dear Ambassadors, I gladly invoke upon you, your families, your diplomatic collaborators and your staff, abundant divine blessings.
Dear ambassadors, dear ambassadors, I beg your pardon because I read the speech thinking that you had the English translation, and unfortunately the secretariat had not prepared it, but I take responsibility for it and I request forgiveness. It will arrive soon. THANKS.
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