Pope Benedict XVI Addresses Diplomatic Corps

According to the Vatican Information Service, “this morning in the Sala Regia of the Vatican, Pope Benedict pronounced his traditional annual address to members of the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See.”

Pope Benedict XVI addressed his global hunger theme:

Commenting on this year’s Message for the World Day of Peace, which had as its theme “Fighting Poverty To Build Peace”, the Pope pointed out that “to build peace, we need to give new hope to the poor”. In this context he also mentioned the “many individuals and families hard-pressed by the difficulties and uncertainties which the current financial and economic crisis has provoked on a global scale” as well as “the food crisis and global warming, which make it even more difficult for those living in some of the poorest parts of the planet to have access to nutrition and water.

“There is”, he added, “an urgent need to adopt an effective strategy to fight hunger and to promote local agricultural development, all the more so since the number of the poor is increasing even within rich countries. … On a deeper level, bolstering the economy demands rebuilding confidence. This goal will only be reached by implementing an ethics based on the innate dignity of the human person. I know how demanding this will be, yet it is not a utopia! Today more than in the past, our future is at stake, as well as the fate of our planet and its inhabitants, especially the younger generation which is inheriting a severely compromised economic system and social fabric”.

VIS said the Pope also addressed concerns about children and violent conflict:

The Pope, who is due to visit Africa within the next few months, called upon the inhabitants of that continent “to welcome the Gospel and to live it consistently, building peace by fighting moral and material poverty. A very particular concern must be shown for children: twenty years after the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, they remain very vulnerable. Many children have the tragic experience of being refugees and displaced persons in Somalia, Darfur and the Democratic Republic of Congo. There are waves of migration involving millions of persons in need of humanitarian assistance and who above all have been deprived of their elementary rights and offended in their dignity.

“I ask political leaders on the national and international levels to take every measure necessary to resolve the current conflicts and to put an end to the injustices which caused them. I express my hope that in Somalia the restoration of the State will finally make progress, in order to end the interminable sufferings of the inhabitants of that country. In Zimbabwe, likewise, the situation remains critical and considerable humanitarian assistance is needed. The peace agreement in Burundi has brought a glimmer of hope to the region. I ask that it be applied fully, and thus become a source of inspiration for other countries which have not yet found the path of reconciliation”. In this context he also mentioned the Holy See’s “special attention” for Africa and its pleasure at having established diplomatic relations with Botswana last year.

The full report is availabe at the VIS site.

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