Pope urges world not to be indifferent to humanity’s woes

Pope Francis greeting UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres at the Vatican

At the end of a meeting with UN Secretary-general, Antonio Guterres, in the Vatican, Pope Francis delivered a video message, stressing the urgent need to address the emergencies facing the world. Pope Francis is calling on the world not to close its eyes or look the other way in the face of the many woes, pain and wounds afflicting mankind but to unite and work to build a peaceful world, saying “what really counts in life is love”.

 “It is good that this meeting of ours takes place in the days leading up to Christmas,” the Pope says in the presence of Guterres.  “These are days when our eyes are turned to heaven to entrust to God the people and situations we hold most dear. In this gaze we recognize ourselves as children of one Father, brothers and sisters,” he says speaking in his native Spanish.

Woes plaguing humanity

“We cannot and we must not look the other way in the face of injustice, inequality, the scandal of hunger in the world, of poverty, of children who die because they lack water, food and necessary healthcare,” the Pope says.

He recalls men and women who are forced to leave their countries because of conflicts, violence, poverty or climate change and who often meet a sad fate.  He urges the world to unite in the fight against every kind of abuse of children and overcome indifference in the face of attacks against human dignity and human life, including the unborn.

 “We cannot, we must not look the other way when believers of various faiths are persecuted in different parts of the world,” he says.  “The use of religion to incite hatred, violence, oppression, extremism and blind fanaticism, as well as to force people into exile and marginalization,” he says, “cries out for vengeance before God.”

Nuclear weapons

Pope Francis also denounces the arms race and nuclear rearmament saying, they “also cry out for vengeance before God”.  “The use as well as possession of nuclear weapons”, he says, “is also immoral, adding “even the mere danger of an accident represents a grim threat to humanity”.

The Holy Father urges that the world not be indifferent to the many wars that continue to be fought and which kill so many innocent people.

In order to build a peaceful world, he says, it is indispensable that there be confidence in dialogue between people and between nations, in multilateralism, in the role of international organisations and in diplomacy as a tool to strengthen understanding and agreement.

Caring for our Common Home

In his video message, Pope Francis also addresses the care of the created world, urging all to “take care of our land which, generation after generation, has been entrusted to our custody by God so that we may cultivate it and hand it over to our children”.  He stressed the urgency and need for commitment “to reduce polluting emissions and to an integral ecology saying, “let us do something before it is too late!”

In his video message, the Holy Father also calls on the international community to listen to the young people who “help us to become aware of what is happening in the world today and ask us to be peacemakers and builders, together and not alone, of a more human and just civilization”.

Pope Francis concluded his video message in Christmas note, saying “In all its genuine simplicity, Christmas reminds us that what really counts in life is love”.

After the Pope, UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres also delivered a video message, highlighting the “clear moral voice” of the Pope on issues that are at the very heart of the United Nations mandate.