6 February 2024 | Speeches

SPEECH OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS TO MEMBERS OF THE DIPLOMATIC CORPS ACCREDITED TO THE HOLY SEE FOR THE PRESENTATION OF GREETINGS FOR THE NEW YEAR

Hall of Blessing

Please note that this document is an unofficial translation and is provided for
reference only.

[…] The current conflict in Ukraine has made more evident the crisis that has
long affected the multilateral system, which needs a profound rethinking in order
to adequately respond to the challenges of our time. This requires a reform of
the bodies that allow them to function, so that they are truly representative of
the needs and sensitivities of all peoples, avoiding mechanisms that give more
weight to some to the detriment of others. Therefore, it is not a question of
building blocks of alliances, but of creating opportunities for everyone to be able
to dialogue.
A lot of good can be done together, just think of the commendable initiatives
aimed at reducing poverty, helping migrants, combating climate change,
promoting nuclear disarmament and offering humanitarian aid. However, in
recent times, the various international forums have been marked by growing
polarizations and attempts to impose a single thought, which prevents dialogue
and marginalizes those who think differently. There is the risk of a drift, which
increasingly assumes the face of an ideological totalitarianism, which promotes
intolerance towards those who do not adhere to alleged positions of “progress”,
which in reality seem rather to lead to a general regression of humanity, with
violation of freedom of thought and conscience.
Furthermore, ever greater resources have been used to impose forms of
ideological colonisation, especially on the poorest countries, creating a direct link
between the provision of economic aid and the acceptance of such ideologies.
This has strained the debate within international organizations, precluding
fruitful exchanges and often opening up the temptation to address issues
independently and, consequently, on the basis of power relations.
On the other hand,during my trip to Canada, last July, I was able to touch the
consequences of colonization first-hand, especially meeting the indigenous
populations, who suffered from the assimilation policies of the past. Any attempt
to impose forms of thought on other cultures that do not belong to them opens
the way to bitter confrontation and sometimes even violence.
It is necessary to return to dialogue, mutual listening and negotiation, promoting
shared responsibilities and cooperation in the search for the common good, in
the name of that solidarity that “comes from knowing that we are responsible for
the fragility of others by seeking a common destiny” (Encyclical Letter Fratelli
Tutti, 3 October 2020, 115). Mutual foreclosures and vetoes only fuel further
divisions.

Peace in solidarity
In the annualMessage for the World Day of Peace,, I highlighted how the
Covid-19 pandemic leaves behind «the awareness that we all need each other»
(Message for the 2023 World Day of Peace, 8 December 2022, 3). The paths of
peace are paths of solidarity, as no one can save themselves. We live in a world
so interconnected that everyone’s actions end up having repercussions on
everyone.
Here, I would like to underline three areas in which the interconnection that
binds humanity today emerges with particular force and for which greater
solidarity is particularly urgent.
The first is that of migrations, which affects entire regions of the Earth. Many
times these are people fleeing war and persecution, facing immense dangers. On
the other hand, “every human being has the right to freedom of movement, […]
to immigrate to and settle in other political communities” (Pacem in Terris, 25)
and must have the opportunity to return to their homeland.
Migration is an issue for which “proceeding in random order” is not admissible.
To understand it, just look at the Mediterranean, which has become a large
cemetery. Those broken lives are the emblem of the sinking of our civilization, as
I was able to recall during my trip to Malta last spring. In Europe, it is urgent to
strengthen the regulatory framework, through the approval of the New Pact on
Migration and Asylum, so that adequate policies can be implemented to
welcome, accompany, promote and integrate migrants. At the same time,
solidarity requires that the necessary assistance and care operations for the
shipwrecked do not entirely burden the populations of the main landing points.