By Seàn-Patrick Lovett
It was the first time the Ambassador of Cyprus, His Excellency George Poulides, addressed Pope Francis as Dean of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See. He did so on behalf of his colleagues, representing some 183 States that currently have diplomatic relations with the Holy See.
In his address to the Holy Father, Ambassador Poulides focused primarily on Pope Francis’ “tireless commitment to the defense of human dignity”, calling it the “cornerstone on which to build a truly just, free and peaceful world”.
Speaking in French, the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps confirmed how much still needs to be done to guarantee human rights: he listed poverty, hunger, armed conflicts, new forms of slavery, limitations to religious freedom, environmental degradation, and the nuclear threat, as some of the “dramatic challenges that must be constantly met”.
The Ambassador of Cyprus acknowledged how the Pope invites governments and politicians “to intervene with concrete policies in the resolution of these problems”. This resolution needs to come about, he said, by considering humanity in its entirety, “promoting the individual and collective good”, through what the Church calls “integral human development”.
The Dean went on to repeat Pope Francis’ emphasis on “listening and welcoming” as an antidote to both the modern “throwaway culture” and “globalization of indifference”, so often called into question by the Holy Father.
The Diplomatic Family, he said, “recognizes the great contribution of the Holy See in promoting effective action in the field of global migration”, through the four verbs Pope Francis has identified as: welcoming, protecting, promoting, and integrating. The Dean went on to give examples of Pope Francis’ work towards building “a culture of peace”, seeking reconciliation through dialogue. “You have established bridges of dialogue”, he said,” between religions…while keeping different identities intact”.
Young and Old
Finally, Ambassador Poulides thanked Pope Francis for his ministry on behalf of humanity, and recalled his special attention to young people. “You invited them to dream of a future of hope that will treasure the ancestral wisdom of their grandparents”, he said. “Young and old together can build a future on a human scale”.