Benedict XVI is frequently reproached for scant attention and scarce sensitivity to international scenarios and problems, but nothing is further from reality. Moreover his Discourse to the Diplomatic Corps is yet another proof of it.. Of course, the Pope is first and foremost a successor of the Apostle Peter, and the character of the Holy See's presence in the world is primarily and essentially religious. Yet it is precisely because the Bishop of Rome and his Church are at the service of the Gospel and of the human family that they follow world events closely.
And if at the beginning of the year Benedict XVI unusually expressed his gratitude for the presence of the ambassadors of “so many friendly countries” to a Diplomatic Corps that is one of the largest and most representative in the world, he emphasized that this fact in itself recalls the important contribution of the Catholic Church and her commitment “alongside the international community”. This contribution and commitment has been made with responsibility by a great many countries, also at the personal encounters with the Pontiff of numerous heads of state and of government such as, in 2011, in the ceremonies for the beatification of John Paul II and for the 60th anniversary of the ordination to the priesthood of Benedict XVI himself.
However, in looking at the world panorama – which is “truly dark” wherever “men and women no longer acknowledge their bond with the Creator” – and at the “the grave and disturbing developments” of the crisis, the Pope combined hope with realism. Recalling that it is always necessary to keep the moral dimension in mind, in economics as in bioethics: human life and religious freedom must thus be respected and promoted with the firm rejection of all policies that aim to marginalize the role of religion and of terrorism with a religious motivation.
Lastly, it is important that Benedict XVI said that he was proud of the Christian vision of man – which inspired the constituent Fathers of Germany and those who founded the united Europe – and that he was pleased by the encouraging signs in the area of religious freedom in various countries, among which he mentioned Italy. Repeating that the Holy See is in the world to recall the reality of Christ who transformed human destiny from corruption to immortality.
St. Peter’s Square
Feb. 18, 2020
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