Pope to diplomats: World peace depends on right to life, disarmament

Pope to diplomats: World peace depends on right to life, disarmament

By Andrea Torielli/ lastampa.it

The Pope speaks to the Diplomatic Corps and relaunches the Declaration of Human Rights: stop the arms race, the “ideological colonizations”, the trafficking of human beings. A call for dialogue in Korea and Syria, for the welcome and integration of migrants and refugees, and for the respect of climate commitments. The urgency of family support

For the Holy See, “to speak of human rights means above all to restate the centrality of the human person, willed and created by God in his image and likeness”. Pope Francis addresses the diplomatic corps accredited in the Vatican and, the traditional speech with good wishes for the new year is the perfect occasion for a look at the world’s nations through the eyes of the Vatican State. Bergoglio chose to dwell on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, issued in 1948, seventy years ago, linking it to the Gospel message and the closeness of Jesus to every human being. At the beginning of his long and wide-ranging speech, the Pope recalls the centenary of the end of the First World War and says that we can learn two lessons from its ashes. The first: “Peace is not built by vaunting the power of the victor over the vanquished. Future acts of aggression are not deterred by the law of fear, but rather by the power of calm reason that encourages dialogue and mutual understanding as a means of resolving differences”. The second lesson is that, “peace is consolidated when nations can discuss matters on equal terms”. This entails “the principle that all states are by nature equal in dignity”. The basic premise of this approach is the recognition of the dignity of the human person, since disregard and contempt for that dignity resulted in barbarous acts that have outraged the conscience of mankind”.

New rights and “ideological colonizations”.
Francis notes that “over the years”, particularly in the wake of the social upheaval of the 1960’s,” the interpretation of some rights has progressively changed, with the inclusion of a number of “new rights” that not infrequently conflict with one another”. This has not always helped the promotion of friendly relations between nations, since debatable notions of human rights have been advanced that are at odds with the culture of many countries; the latter feel that they are not respected in their social and cultural traditions, and instead neglected with regard to the real needs they have to face. Somewhat paradoxically, there is a risk that, in the very name of human rights, we will see the rise of modern forms of ideological colonization by the stronger and the wealthier, to the detriment of the poorer and the most vulnerable”. The Pope does not specify this, but it is known from many of his previous interventions that here he refers to campaigns for contraception, abortion and the promotion of the theory of gender, which are imposed on Third World countries in exchange for economic aid.

Children and elderly, “discarded” people
Among the fundamental rights still violated today, Bergoglio cites “first of all that to life, liberty and personal security…I am thinking first and foremost of innocent children, who are discarded even before they are born; sometimes unwanted only because they are sick or malformed or because of the selfishness of adults. I think primarily of innocent children discarded even before they are born, unwanted at times simply because they are ill or malformed, or as a result of the selfishness of adults. I think of the elderly, who are often cast aside, especially when infirm and viewed as a burden. I think of women who repeatedly suffer from violence and oppression, even within their own families. I think too of the victims of human trafficking, which violates the prohibition of every form of slavery. How many persons, especially those fleeing from poverty and war, have fallen prey to such commerce perpetrated by unscrupulous individuals.”

Right to health
Francis calls for “the right to health on the part of individuals and their families. It is important to join forces in order to implement policies that ensure, at affordable costs, the provision of medicines essential for the survival of those in need, without neglecting the area of research and the development of treatments that, albeit not financially profitable, are essential for saving human lives”.

Right to life, right to peace
Defending the right to life - the Pope explains - also entails actively striving for peace, universally recognized as one of the supreme values to be sought and defended. Yet serious local conflicts continue to flare up in various parts of the world.” The collective efforts to stop conflicts “seem to be less and less effective in the face of war’s perverse logic”. Francis explains that “Integral disarmament and integral development are intertwined” and that the quest for peace “requires battling injustice and eliminating, in a non-violent way, the causes of discord that lead to wars”. The proliferation of weapons clearly aggravates situations of conflict and entails enormous human and material costs that undermine development and the search for lasting peace.” The Pope praises the “The historic result achieved last year with the adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons” and warns, with the words of the encyclical “Pacem in terries” by John XXIII, of the risk that a war could be started by “some chance and unforeseen circumstance”. With Pope Roncalli’s words, Bergoglio repeats: “it no longer makes sense to maintain that war is a fit instrument with which to repair the violation of justice”.

The appeal for Korea and Syria
Francis considers of paramount importance to support every effort at dialogue on the Korean peninsula, in order to find new ways to overcome the current conflicts”, and it is also “important for the various peace initiatives aimed at helping Syria to continue, in a constructive climate of growing trust between the parties”. “Our shared hope is that, after so much destruction, the time for rebuilding has now come. Yet even more than rebuilding material structures, it is necessary to rebuild hearts, to re-establish the fabric of mutual trust…” In this regard, it is vital that religious minorities be protected, including Christians, who for centuries have made an active contribution to Syria’s history”. The Pope recalls the refugees and asks that “they may return home”, thanking and asking for the support of the international community for the countries that have received them, in particular Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. Bergoglio also calls for Dialogue in Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan.

The knot of Jerusalem and Venezuela
Francis addresses a “particular thought” to Israelis and Palestinians, and “in expressing sorrow for the loss of life in recent clashes”, he reiterates a “ pressing appeal that every initiative be carefully weighed so as to avoid exacerbating hostilities”, and calls for “a common commitment to respect, in conformity with the relevant United Nations Resolutions, the status quo of Jerusalem, a city sacred to Christians, Jews and Muslims. Seventy years of confrontation make more urgent than ever the need for a political solution that allows the presence in the region of two independent states within internationally recognized borders”. The Pope then quotes Venezuela, “which is experiencing an increasingly dramatic and unprecedented political and humanitarian crisis. The Holy See, while urging an immediate response to the primary needs of the population, expresses the hope that conditions will be created so that the elections scheduled for this year can resolve the existing conflicts, and enable people to look to the future with newfound serenity.”

Africa and Ukraine
Francis therefore asks not to forget “ the suffering of many parts of the African
continent, especially in South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, Nigeria and the Central African Republic, where the right to life is threatened by the indiscriminate exploitation of resources, terrorism, the proliferation of armed groups and protracted conflicts “. It is not enough to be appalled at such violence - the Pope explains - Rather, everyone, in his or her own situation, should work actively to eliminate the causes of misery and build bridges of fraternity, the fundamental premise for authentic human development.” A similar commitment to “rebuild bridges is also urgent in Ukraine”, where “The year just ended reaped new victims in the conflict that afflicts the country, continuing to bring great suffering to the population, particularly to families who live in areas affected by the war and have lost their loved ones, not infrequently the elderly and children”.

The family and its rights
The Pope recalls that the right to form a family is a fundamental right and the family “has the right to be protected by society and the State”. Francis observes that “unfortunately especially in the West”, the family is “is considered an obsolete institution” and today “fleeting relationships are preferred to the stability of a definitive life project”. “But a house built on the sand of frail and fickle relationships cannot stand”. What is needed instead is “a rock on which to build solid foundations. And this rock is precisely that faithful and indissoluble communion of love that joins man and woman”. For this reason, Bergoglio considers it “that genuine policies be adopted to support the family, on which the future and the development of states depend. Without this, it is not possible to create societies capable of meeting the challenges of the future”. Disregard for families has another dramatic effect – particularly present in some parts of the world – namely, a decline in the birth rate. We are experiencing a true demographic winter! And we cannot forget – the Pope adds - the situation of families torn apart by poverty, war and migration. All too often, we see with our own eyes the tragedy of children who, unaccompanied, cross the borders between the south and the north of our world, and often fall victim to human trafficking.

Migrants and primal fears
In the part of his speech dedicated to the great theme of migration, Francis affirms that today there is much talk about it “ at times only for the sake of stirring up primal fears. It must not be forgotten - he warns - that migration has always existed. In the Judaeo-Christian tradition, the history of salvation is essentially a history of migration. that migration has always existed. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, the history of salvation is essentially a history of migration. Nor should we forget that freedom of movement, for example, the ability to leave one’s own country and to return there, is a fundamental human right. There is a need, then, to abandon the familiar rhetoric and start from the essential consideration that we are dealing, above all, with persons”. “Welcoming others, the Pontiff explains, “ requires concrete commitment, a network of assistance and good will, vigilant and sympathetic attention, the responsible management of new and complex situations that at times compound numerous existing problems, to say nothing of resources, which are always limited “. By practicing the virtue of prudence, government leaders should take practical measures to welcome, promote, protect, integrate and, ‘within the limits allowed by a correct understanding of the common good, to permit them to become part of a new society.”

“Thank you” to those who welcome
The Pope thanked the states that “ have spared no effort in recent years to assist the many migrants arriving at their borders. I think above all of the efforts made by more than a few countries in Asia, Africa and the Americas that welcome and assist numerous persons”. He mentions Bangladeshi authorities “for the assistance provided to them on their own territory”. Francis then express particular gratitude “to Italy, which in these years has shown an open and generous heart and offered positive examples of integration”. My hope - he adds, with words that address the current pre-election debate – is that the difficulties that the country has experienced in these years, and whose effects are still felt, will not lead to forms of refusal and obstruction, but instead to a rediscovery of those roots and traditions that have nourished the rich history of the nation and constitute a priceless treasure offered to the whole world “. He also expresses appreciation for the efforts made by Greece and Germany. Europe, Bergoglio adds “should be proud of this legacy, grounded on certain principles and a vision of man rooted in its millenary history, inspired by the Christian conception of the human person”.

Welcome and integrate
Francis then recalled the processes of preparation for the adoption of two Global Compacts for refugees and for safe migration. And he dwells on the word “integration”. “Those who welcome - he explains - are called to promote integral human development, while those who are welcomed must necessarily conform to the rules of the country offering them hospitality, with respect for its identity and values. Processes of integration must always keep the protection and advancement of persons, especially those in situations of vulnerability, at the center of the rules governing various aspects of political and social life.” With this, the Holy See has “no intention of interfering in decisions that fall to states “, nonetheless, the Holy See “does consider it its role to appeal to the principles of humanity and fraternity at the basis of every cohesive and harmonious society.”

The right to change religion
Among human rights recalled by the Pontiff there is also “the right to freedom of
thought, conscience and of religion, including the freedom to change religion”. “Sad to say, it is well-known that the right to religious freedom is often disregarded, and not infrequently religion becomes either an occasion for the ideological justification of new forms of extremism or a pretext for the social marginalization of believers, if not their downright persecution”.

The right to employment
The Pope then recalls the importance of the right to employment, without which “there can be no peace or development “. It is regrettable, however, that “in many parts of the world, employment is scarcely available. At times, few opportunities exist, especially for young people, to find work. Often it is easily lost not only due to the effects of alternating economic cycles, but to the increasing use of ever more perfect and precise technologies and tools that can replace human beings “. There is also a reference to the tendency “to demand of laborer’s an ever more pressing pace. The demands of profit, dictated by globalization, have led to a progressive reduction of times and days of rest, with the result that a fundamental dimension of life has been lost”. Bergoglio therefore notes the increase in the “scourge of child labor”.” We cannot think of planning a better future, or hope to build more inclusive societies, if we continue to maintain economic models directed to profit alone and the exploitation of those who are most vulnerable, such as children”. Eliminating the structural causes of this scourge should be a priority of governments and international organizations.”

Caring for our Earth
After mentioning natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes, independent of human action, Francis indicates among today’s particularly pressing duties “that of caring for our earth”. He recalls the importance of our own responsibility in interaction with nature. Climate changes, with the global rise in temperatures and their devastating effects, are also a consequence of human activity. Hence “there is a need to take up, in a united effort, the responsibility of leaving to coming generations a more beautiful and livable world, and to work, in the light of the commitments agreed upon in Paris in 2015”. The spirit that must guide individuals and nations in this effort can be compared to that of the builders of the medieval cathedrals that dot the landscape of Europe, who knew that they would not see the completion of their work. Yet they worked diligently, in the knowledge that they were part of a project that would be left to their children to enjoy.

Mon, 01/08/2018 - 16:09
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