Pope asks diplomats to seek peace, appeals for Syria
Pope Benedict XVI delivers his annual 'state of the world' address to ambassadors at the Vatican's Regia Hall on Jan. 7, 2013. Credit: Stefano Carofei - Vatican Pool via Getty Images News/Getty Images
Pope Benedict XVI delivers his annual 'state of the world' address to ambassadors at the Vatican's Regia Hall on Jan. 7, 2013. Credit: Stefano Carofei - Vatican Pool via Getty Images News/Getty Images
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- Pope Benedict gave a wide-ranging address to a group of ambassadors and diplomats that urged an end to the “slaughter” in Syria and stressed the “grave responsibility” to work for peace around the word.

On Jan. 7, ambassadors and diplomats from nearly 180 countries gathered in the Apostolic Palace’s Sala Regia to hear the Pope’s traditional address to members of the diplomatic corps who are accredited to the Holy See.

The Pope lamented the “dreadful suffering” of civilians in Syria, a country he said is “torn apart by endless slaughter.”

“I renew my appeal for a ceasefire and the inauguration as quickly as possible of a constructive dialogue aimed at putting an end to a conflict which will know no victors but only vanquished if it continues, leaving behind it nothing but a field of ruins,” the Pope said Monday.

He asked that the officials alert their respective countries to help make essential aid available for the “grave humanitarian situation” in Syria.

At least 60,000 people have been killed and hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced in the 21-month conflict between the government and rebel forces.

Pope Benedict also voiced “deep concern” about the Holy Land. With the United Nations’ recognition of Palestine as a non-member observer state, he said, he hoped that Israelis and Palestinians will “commit themselves to peaceful coexistence” in a framework of “two sovereign states.”

“Jerusalem, become what your name signifies! A city of peace and not of division; a prophecy of the Kingdom of God and not a byword for instability and opposition!” he said.

The Pope said that peace must be “nourished and protected by charity” and that charity is “at the heart” of the Holy See’s diplomatic activity. He noted the Catholic Church’s disaster relief work, her social assistance to the needy and her educational institutions.

The Pope emphasized that peace is built through the protection of human beings and their fundamental rights.

“This task, even if carried out in many ways and with varying degrees of intensity, challenges all countries and must constantly be inspired by the transcendent dignity of the human person and the principles inscribed in human nature,” he said.

He named respect for life as the “foremost” principle. He praised the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe’s call for the prohibition of euthanasia, but he noted “with dismay” efforts to introduce legislation that would allow or expand abortion.

He said vigilance is needed to ensure that a country’s laws do not “unjustly alter the balance between the right to life of the mother and that of the unborn child, a right belonging equally to both.”

Pope Benedict’s address touched on several other regions of concern.

He told the diplomats of his hope for “reconciliation” and stability in Iraq. Turning to Lebanon, he asked that the religious traditions there be “cultivated by all” and that the country’s Christians be effective witnesses for peace.

For North Africa, Pope Benedict asked for full citizenship and religious liberty for all members of society. He assured Egyptians of his prayers as they build new institutions in a period of political upheaval.

He encouraged peacemaking in sub-Saharan Africa, citing the violence and the displacement of people in the Horn of Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo. He lamented the regular terrorist attacks on Christians in Nigeria. He voiced hope that peace talks in the Central African Republic will prevent a return to civil war.

The violent social crisis in Mali, where Islamist militants have taken control of the country’s north, “calls for the effective attention of the international community,” he said.

Pope Benedict’s address also noted the need for economic development and investment in education to help overcome poverty, disease and social inequality.

The Holy See has long been a center for diplomacy and international relations. It has full diplomatic relations with 179 states, the European Union and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. It also has permanent observer status at the United Nations.

Tags: Violence, Syria Conflict, Diplomacy

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea

Liturgical Calendar

December 18, 2014

Advent Weekday

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 21:23-27


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Jer 23: 5-8
Gospel:: Mt 1: 18-25

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »


Homily of the Day

Mt 21:23-27