(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Thursday received Letters of Credence from the Ambassadors to the Holy See from Estonia, Malawi, Namibia, the Seychelles, Thailand and Zambia.
In remarks prepared for the occasion and delivered Thursday morning in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican, Pope Francis reflected with Ambassadors Väino Reinart of Estonia, Michael Barth Kamphambe Nkhoma of Malawi, Andreas B. D. Guibeb of Namibia, Thomas Selby Pillay of the Seychelles, Nopadol Gunavibool of Thailand, and Muyeba Shichapwa Chikonde of Zambia, on the concrete reminder of our common humanity that diplomatic service provides, and upon mindfulness of which effective diplomatic activity depends.
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“This service,” said Pope Francis, “has taken on a particular urgency, as so many in our world are suffering conflicts and war, forced migration and displacement, and the uncertainty born of economic hardship.” The Holy Father went on to say, “These problems demand not only that we reflect upon them and discuss them, but that we also express concrete signs of solidarity with our brothers and sisters in grave need.”
Peace was a central focus of Pope Francis’ reflections, specifically and especially the service to the cause of peace the nations of the world are called to render by finding ways creatively and effectively to manage the tensions created and exacerbated by conflicts that destroy whole societies and drive people from their homes. “While our initiatives on behalf of peace should help people to remain in their homelands,” he said, “this present hour urges us to assist migrants and those caring for them: we must not allow misunderstanding and fear to weaken our resolve; rather, we are called to build a culture of dialogue, one which ‘enables us to view others as valid dialogue partners, to respect the foreigner, the immigrant and people from different cultures as worthy of being listened to’ (Conferral of the Charlemagne Prize, 6 May 2016).”
The Holy Father went on to say, “In this way, we will promote an integration which respects the traditions of migrants and preserves the culture of the community receiving them, all the while enriching both.”
Warning against ceding to the temptations of partial and short-sighted solutions, which do not address the underlying issues that block the way toward genuine, just and lasting peace among peoples in the world. “If misunderstanding and fear prevail,” he said, “something of ourselves dies, our cultures, history and traditions are weakened, and our own peace is compromised.”
“When,” however, “we foster dialogue and solidarity, both individually and collectively, it is then that we experience the best of humanity and secure an enduring peace for all, as intended by our Creator,” Pope Francis said.
The Holy Father concluded his remarks with particular greetings through the newly-accredited Ambassadors to the Pastors and faithful of the Catholic communities present in their countries, encouraging the Catholic communities there always to be heralds of hope and peace.
The Pope made explicit reference to those Christian and minority communities suffering persecution for their beliefs. “[T]o them I renew my prayerful support and solidarity,” he said.
“For its part,” Pope Francis said finally, “the Holy See is honoured to be able to strengthen with each of you [Ambassadors] and with the countries you represent an open and respectful dialogue and a constructive collaboration.”