.- During his extensive speech to members of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See, Pope Benedict spoke briefly of the “positive elements characteristic of the modern age,” including an increase in intercultural and interreligious dialogue and a greater respect for human rights.
After discussing major areas for international concern, such as hunger, the arms race, and attacks on the right to life, the Pontiff said “this overview of matters of concern must not distract our attention from the positive elements characteristic of the modern age.
“I should like to mention first of all the growing awareness of the importance of dialogue between cultures and between religions,” the Pope began. “This is a vital necessity, particularly in view of the challenges we all face regarding the family and society. I want to draw attention, moreover, to numerous initiatives in this area aimed at building common foundations for harmonious co-existence.”
With the establishment of the United Nations’ Council for Human Rights last year, Pope Benedict said, “it is to be hoped that this will focus its activity on defense and promotion of the fundamental rights of the person, especially the right to life and the right to religious freedom.”
Within the framework of development, various initiatives have been undertaken to which the Holy See has not failed to pledge its support, at the same time reiterating that these projects must not supplant the commitment of developed countries to devote 0.7% of their gross domestic product to international aid,” he said.
“Another important element in the collective struggle to eliminate poverty, in addition to aid – which one can only hope will expand – is a greater awareness of the need to combat corruption and to promote good governance. We must also encourage and continue the efforts that have been made to guarantee human rights to individuals and peoples, for the sake of more effective protection of civilian populations,” the Holy Father added.