-- ZENIT.org News Agency
Pope Urges Diplomatic Corps to Foster Fraternity and Dialogue
Expresses Hope For Peace in Middle East, Denounces 'Throwaway Culture'
VATICAN CITY, January 13, 2014 (Zenit.org) - In his traditional annual address to the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See Jan. 13, the Pope said that fraternity and peace is established first in the family.
The Holy Father began by noting the establishment of diplomatic relations with South Sudan, as well as the signing of agreements with Cape Verde, Hungary and Chad.
Recalling his message for the World Day of Peace, Pope Francis reiterated the role of the family in establishing fraternity as a foundation to peace.
"This is the message of the Crib, where we see the Holy Family, not alone and isolated from the world, but surrounded by shepherds and the Magi, that is by an open community in which there is room for everyone, poor and rich alike, those near and those afar," he said.
"In this way we can appreciate the insistence of my beloved predecessor Benedict XVI that 'the language of the family is a language of peace.'"
Lamenting the divisions among families, particularly due to adverse conditions, the Pope stressed the need for policies that support and assist families in need. The Holy Father also echoed a sentiment he has given in the past, calling for attention to the importance of the elderly and youth.
Turning his thoughts towards the conflicts that exist in today's world, Pope Francis expressed his hope that the Syrian civil war would "finally come to an end."
"Concern for that beloved people, and a desire to avert the worsening of violence, moved me last September to call for a day of fasting and prayer," he said. The Pope expressed his thanks to the countries who joined in the initiative, which saw a global participation in the day of prayer.
"What is presently needed is a renewed political will to end the conflict. In this regard, I express my hope that the Geneva II Conference, to be held on January 22nd, will mark the beginning of the desired peace process."
Bringing attention to civilians, particularly children, who are caught in the crossfire of the conflict, the Pope urged the full respect of humanitarian law. The Holy Father also stressed the need for diplomacy and dialogue to prevail in areas of conflict, especially in the resumption of peace talks between Israel and Palestine.
"I myself intend to make a pilgrimage of peace to the Holy Land in the course of this year," he said. "The exodus of Christians from the Middle East and North Africa continues to be a source of concern. They want to continue to be a part of the social, political and cultural life of countries which they helped to build, and they desire to contribute to the common good of societies where they wish to be fully accepted as agents of peace and reconciliation."
Another area that the 77 year old Pontiff reflected on was the denial of human dignity, particularly in areas that lack adequate nutrition. The "throwaway culture" that exists today, he said, does not only refer to food and dispensable objects, but even human beings.
"For example, it is frightful even to think there are children, victims of abortion, who will never see the light of day; children being used as soldiers, abused and killed in armed conflicts; and children being bought and sold in that terrible form of modern slavery which is human trafficking, which is a crime against humanity," the Pope said.
Concluding his address, Pope Francis assured the diplomatic corps of the Holy See's willingness to cooperate in fostering bonds of fraternity, which he said, "are a reflection of God's love and the basis of concord and peace."
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For the full text of the Holy Father's address, go to: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/pope-francis-address-to-diplomatic-corps
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