Vatican City, Mar 22, 2013 / 04:50 am
Pope Francis invited the diplomats accredited to the Holy See to join him in fighting both material and spiritual poverty, which both contribute to the lack of peace in the world.
"Fighting poverty, both material and spiritual, building peace and constructing bridges: these, as it were, are the reference points for a journey that I want to invite each of the countries here represented to take up," Pope Francis said March 22.
The Pope met this morning in the Regia Hall of the Apostolic Palace with representatives from the more than 180 countries, sovereign orders and international organizations that have formal relations with the Vatican.
After a message of welcome and thanks from Ambassador Jean-Claude Michel, the dean of the diplomatic corps, Pope Francis offered his thoughts on the meeting and the Church's engagement with the world.
This is "a simple yet deeply felt ceremony that somehow seeks to express the Pope's embrace of the world. Through you, indeed, I encounter your peoples, and thus in a sense I can reach out to every one of your fellow citizens, with their joys, their troubles, their expectations, their desires," he said.
He also highlighted some of the reasons why he chose the name Francis, including his love and care for the poor, work that he noted Christians are engaged in throughout the world.
"But there is another form of poverty!" he told the diplomats.
"It is the spiritual poverty of our time, which afflicts the so-called richer countries particularly seriously.