Crisis threatens peace, requires solidarity and sobriety, Pope says
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – The current economic crisis requires awareness and solidarity to “build real peace to create a world that is fairer and more prosperous for all” because the existing gap between rich and poor countries is creating divisions between peoples and can lead to conflicts, Pope Benedict XVI said in his address to the ambassadors of Mongolia, India, Benin, New Zealand, South Africa, Burkina Faso, Namibia and Norway who today presented their Letters of Credence.
In his speech to the new Indian Ambassador Delhi Chitra Narayanan the Pope voiced his concerns about anti-Christian violence in India. When he addressed the ambassador of Mongolia, a country that was under a totalitarian regime for a long time, he also spoke about that most fundamental of rights: religious freedom.
The Pontiff said that India was a model of harmonious coexistence of various religions and cultures, an example for Asia and the rest of the world, as evinced by recent elections, “a sign of democracy and civilisation.”
“As pastor of the Catholic Church I join religious leaders and governments around the world to express the common desire that everyone in the human family must be free to practice one’s religion and be involved in civic life without fear of hostile repercussions because of one’s faith.”
The Holy Father then expressed his “deep concern for Christians who have suffered from outbreaks of violence in some areas within your borders. Today I take the opportunity to express my appreciation for your country’s efforts to help those affected through protection, assistance, relief and rehabilitation as well for the legal steps taken to solve these problems. I appeal to everyone to show respect for human dignity by rejecting hatred and renouncing violence in all its forms.”
In his address to all eight ambassadors the Pope also mentioned the role religions can play in promoting peace even at this point in time when they are “attacked and discredited,” because, as he pointed out, in recent years some violent groups have unfortunately used God to justify their actions.
Speaking to the Ambassador of Mongolia, Danzannorov Boldbaatar, the Pope said he was pleased with the good relations between the Vatican and his country, which agreed to the establishment of the Apostolic Prefecture of Ulaanbaatar, which makes it possible to coordinate more effectively the pastoral care of Mongolia’s Catholics, who number about 500.
Also in his address to all the ambassadors, Benedict XVI noted the role the current economic crisis has played in increasing the gap between developed and developing countries.
“Those who live in extreme poverty are the first to be affected because they are the most vulnerable. This crisis is also driving into poverty people who, without being rich, hitherto had a decent standard of living. Poverty is up with serious and sometimes irreversible consequences,” he said.
“The recession caused by the economic crisis can threaten the existence of a great many people;” at the top of the list, children, “innocent victims who are the first who must be protected.”
Lastly, the Pontiff appealed to developed countries to show “greater fraternity and solidarity, and real global generosity” so that they can “rediscover a sense of proportion and sobriety in their economies and lifestyles.”
“[D]eveloped countries”, he said, must “rediscover a sense of proportion and sobriety in their economies and lifestyles.”