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The culture of encounter is possible

· ​Pope Francis to the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See ·

The “tragic slayings” which took place last Wednesday in Paris is a “tragic consequence” of a culture which rejects the other and “severs the deepest and most authentic human bonds, leading to the breakdown of society and spawning violence and death”. Pope Francis recalled this to the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See, who met in the Regia Hall on Monday morning, 12 January, for the traditional beginning of the year audience. The audience took place just a few hours before the Pope's departure for Sri Lanka and The Philippines; this visit, which will conclude on 19 January, is the Pope's seventh international journey. As is traditional in this annual address, the Holy Father took the opportunity to survey the current international situation, which is marked by “the never-ending spread of conflicts” caused by the “mentality of rejection” and the “culture of enslavement”, a idea which Francis' message for the World Day of Peace 2015 also touches on.

Pope Francis also dedicated several portions of his address to fundamentalist terrorism, recalling in particular that “even before it eliminates human beings by perpetrating horrendous killings, (it) eliminates God himself, turning him into a mere ideological pretext”. Then, referring to the heated situation in the Middle East, the Pope called for “a unanimous response”, “one which, within the framework of international law, can end the spread of acts of violence, restore harmony and heal the deep wounds which the ongoing conflicts have caused”. To religious leaders, especially Muslim leaders, the Pope condemned “all fundamentalist and extremist interpretations of religion which attempt to justify such acts of violence”.

The Pope's gaze also moved Europe, Africa, Asia, America, pausing on several dramatic situations in society, including immigration, violence against women and children, as well as unemployment.

The integral text of the Pope's address 

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St. Peter’s Square

Nov. 14, 2018

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