Pope urges drive for peace in 2014

Pope Francis has called on world leaders to work towards a real and lasting peace in the world and insisted the Church will play its part “in every possible way” to foment this reality.

The Pope made his comments last Monday as he addressed an assembly of 180 ambassadors to the Holy See, gathered for the annual new year’s greeting delivered by the Pontiff to the diplomatic corps.

In a wide-ranging address, Pope Francis dealt with conflicts in all parts of the world, stressing that while these conflicts differed in their root causes, their common solution lay in “diplomacy and dialogue”.

“This is the royal road already indicated with utter clarity by Pope Benedict XV when he urged the leaders of the European nations to make ‘the moral force of law’ prevail over the ‘material force of arms’ in order to end that ‘needless carnage’ which was the First World War, whose centenary occurs this year,” the Pope pointed out. He went on to voice his satisfaction with “the significant progress made in the dialogue between Iran and the Group of 5+1 on the nuclear issue” while noting sadly that many other regions, especially in the Middle East, hostilities continue to undermine stability in various nations.

“Pope Paul VI noted that peace ‘is not simply the absence of warfare, based on a precarious balance of power; it is fashioned by efforts directed day after day towards the establishment of an order willed by God, with a more perfect justice among men and women’.

“At the beginning of this new year, I assure you of the readiness of the Holy See, and of the Secretariat of State in particular, to cooperate with your countries in fostering bonds of fraternity which are a reflection of God’s love and the basis of concord and peace.”