By Vatican News staff writer
Pope Francis, on Friday, addressed the new Ambassadors of Singapore, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, Algeria, Sri Lanka, Barbados, Sweden, Finland and Nepal, as they presented their credential letters to the Holy Father.
“I am pleased to welcome you as you present the Letters accrediting you as Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassadors of your countries to the Holy See,” said the Pope to the diplomats.
The Pope expressed gratitude for their presence in spite of the challenges to travel caused by the pandemic, and asked them to convey his “sentiments of gratitude and esteem” to the Heads of States that they represent.
Need for a “culture of care”
Pope Francis turned his thoughts toward the numerous challenges caused as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has aggravated the social and economic crisis around the world.
“On a personal level, many have lost loved ones and their means of livelihood," the Pope noted. "Families, in particular, are facing grave economic difficulties and often lack adequate social protection.”
At the same time, he continued, “the pandemic has made us more conscious of our interdependence as members of the one human family and our need to be attentive to the poor and the vulnerable in our midst.”
The Holy Father, therefore, called on societies to take concrete, courageous steps to develop a “culture of care” that can inspire “new relationships and structures of cooperation in the service of solidarity, respect for human dignity, mutual assistance and social justice” as we seek to emerge from the present crisis.
Challenges for the international community
The Pope went on to lament the growing difficulties experienced by the international community “in seeking common and shared solutions to the problems of our world.”
In this regard, he pointed to pressing global issues, including migration and climate change, as well as the humanitarian crises that often trail them. He also drew attention to the economic debt that burden many countries and the “ecological debt” that we owe to nature, as well as to peoples affected by human-induced ecological degradation and loss of biodiversity.
He stressed that these issues are “not simply political or economic,” but are rather questions of justice that can no longer be ignored or deferred. In fact, he insisted, “they entail a moral obligation towards future generations, for the seriousness with which we respond to them will shape the world we leave to our children.”
The Church at work for a better society
Addressing the diplomats, the Holy Father underlined the important role of their work in the development of “a global consensus capable of responding to these ethical challenges facing our human family.”
The Pope also reiterated the Holy See’s support, through its diplomatic representations and activity within the international community, for efforts to build “a world in which the human person is at the centre, finance is at the service of an integral development, and the earth, our common home, is protected and cared for.”
Likewise, “through her works of education, charity and healthcare worldwide, the Church seeks to advance the integral development of individuals and peoples, and in this way contribute to the cause of peace,” the Pope noted.
Invitation to prayers for the Holy Land
Recalling the escalation of violence and hostilities going on in the Holy Land in recent days, Pope Francis renewed his call for all parties to pursue "the paths of dialogue and peace.”
He also invited all the pastors and the faithful of the Catholic Church to unite themselves spiritually in prayer with the Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land as they gather on Saturday to celebrate the Vigil of Pentecost in Saint Stephen’s Church in Jerusalem and to “implore the gift of peace.”
“May every community pray to the Holy Spirit that Israelis and Palestinians may find the path of dialogue and forgiveness, be patient builders of peace and justice, and be open, step by step, to a common hope, to coexistence among brothers and sisters,” Pope Francis urged.