Pope Francis on Friday asked Catholics around the world to pray for peace in the Middle East as he addressed ambassadors newly accredited to the Holy See.
At the conclusion of his speech to the new ambassadors, the pope noted that Catholics in the Holy Land will be praying for peace on the Vigil of Pentecost on May 22 at St. Stephen’s Basilica in Jerusalem.
He expressed happiness at the recent de-escalation in the region and the brokering of a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.
“I take this opportunity to ask all the pastors and faithful of the Catholic Church to unite themselves spiritually with this prayer,” he said.
Quoting from his Regina Coeli address on May 16, he continued: “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.’”
Earlier in his address, the pope stressed the importance of diplomacy, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Sadly, the pandemic has also made us acutely aware that the international community is experiencing ‘a growing difficulty, if not the inability, to seek common and shared solutions to the problems of our world,’” he said, referring to his February address to the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See.
He said it was necessary to “confront such pressing global issues as migration and climate change,” as well as the humanitarian crises that accompany these issues.
“I think too of the economic debt that burdens many countries struggling to survive and the ‘ecological debt’ that we owe to nature itself, as well as to peoples and countries affected by human-induced ecological degradation and loss of biodiversity,” said the pope.
He explained that economic debt and ecological debt were not merely political or economic issues, but “questions of justice, a justice that can no longer be ignored or deferred.”
“Indeed, 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,” he said.
The newly accredited ambassadors to the Holy See came from Singapore, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, Algeria, Sri Lanka, Barbados, Sweden, Finland, and Nepal.
The work of diplomats, said Pope Francis, is of “paramount importance” when it comes to the creation of a global consensus that can effectively respond to the challenges of humanity.
“For its part, the Holy See, through its diplomatic representations, and its activity within the international community, supports every effort to build a world in which the human person is at the center, finance is at the service of an integral development, and the earth, our common home, is protected and cared for,” he said.
“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.”
Christine Rousselle is a former DC Correspondent for Catholic News Agency. Prior to working at CNA, she was the managing web editor of Townhall.com; she has a BA in political science from Providence College.