Lunedì, 24 Settembre 2018
VATICAN CITY

Pope Francis urges ambassadors to protect poor

English
© ANSA

(By Denis Greenan).
Vatican City, March 22 - Pope Francis on Friday put
the world's many poor at centre stage during his first audience
with ambassadors accredited to the Holy See.
The recently elected pope called on the diplomatic corps to
"protect those who suffer as a result of poverty", recalling
his namesake St Francis of Assisi's fight against material
poverty and his predecessor Benedict XVI's fight against the
spiritual poverty allegedly inherent in the "dictatorship of
relativism".
Francis also asked the ambassadors to "work to build
peace" according to the instructions of his namesake.
"However, there can be no peace without truth," he said.
The Argentine pope who was elected to replace Benedict
at a conclave of cardinals last week also told the diplomats
from 180 countries that it was not possible "to claim one's own
rights without also working for the good of others".
The pope also noted that one of his titles as Bishop of
Rome was "pontiff, builder of bridges, with God and among men".
The former archbishop of Buenos Aires added that all
countries had responsibility to build bridges in pursuit of
"ever greater love for our world".
"As you know my family has Italian origins and so I have
always been engaged in dialogue between remote places and
cultures, between one end of the earth and the other," Francis
told the diplomats.
"Today (these places and cultures) are increasingly close and
interdependent and in need of meeting each other and creating
real space for genuine brotherhood," he added.
'Pontifex', Latin for bridge-maker, was a title used by ancient
Roman high priests and later taken over by emperors.
Religion plays an "essential" role in building bridges for
peace, Francis stressed.
"It is not possible to build bridges without encountering
God" but "nor is it possible to have true ties with God while
ignoring other people", he said.
The pope, who was elected at a conclave of cardinals on
March 13, again recalled St Francis in underscoring the
importance of upholding the Franciscan founder's teaching of
respect for all creation and care for the environment, "which
all too often we do not use for good, but eagerly exploit
inflicting reciprocal damage".
Continuing the humble approach that has marked his
10-day-old papacy, Francis did not sit on the traditional papal
throne but on a plain white chair set on a small dais.
In yet another break with tradition, Francis addressed the
ambassadors in Italian rather than in the traditional diplomatic
language of French.
Francis, the first South American pope, was elected after
Benedict stunned the world by becoming the first pope in 600
years to abdicate.

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