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The Pope's embrace of the world

· Audience for the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See ·

A meeting that “somehow seeks to express the Pope’s embrace of the world”: with these words the Holy Father described the spirit of the Audience he granted this morning, Friday, 22 March, to the members of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See. “Through you”, he explained, “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”.

The Bishop of Rome reaffirmed that what matters most to the Holy See is “the good of every person upon this earth!”.Francis expressed the hope that this might “also be an opportunity to begin a journey with those few countries that do not yet have diplomatic relations with the Holy See”, while at the same time thanking all those “which were present at the Mass for the beginning of my ministry, or sent messages as a sign of their closeness”.

The Pope once again presented to the diplomats Francis of Assisi – the saint whose name he chose – in order to reaffirm the priorities of his pastoral service. Emphasizing “Francis' love for the poor”, he recalled first of all that “the Church in every corner of the globe has always tried to care for and look after those who suffer from want”. Moreover, this is testified by “the generous activity that Christians carry out in many countries of the world, “helping the sick, orphans, the homeless and all the marginalized”, striving “to make society more humane and more just”.

It is an activity which the Pope thinks should also be extended to spiritual poverty, in which originates that “'tyranny of relativism'” , he said, citing an expression dear to Benedict XVI, “which makes everyone his own criterion and endangers the coexistence of peoples”. This gives rise to the second teaching of St Francis of which the Pope spoke to the ambassadors: to work “to build peace”, starting with the knowledge that “there is no true peace without truth”.

Lastly Francis referred to his mission as Pope as that of “a builder of bridges with God and between people”.  And he reintroduced it in the perspective of the dialogue between places and cultures, “in such a way that everyone can see in the other not an enemy, not a rival, but a brother or sister to be welcomed and embraced!”. This dialogue should also intensify outreach to the other religions and to non-believers, and its prerequisites should also include “profound respect for the whole of creation and the protection of our environment, which all too often, instead of using for the good, we exploit greedily, to one another's detriment.

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