In his greetings to the Diplomatic Corps on January 10, the Holy Father spoke of a “family meeting”, referring to this annual appointment with the ambassadors of the 187 States that have diplomatic relations with the Holy See.
After thanking in particular Dean George Poulides, Ambassador of Cyprus, for the kind words he addressed to him on behalf of the entire Diplomatic Corps, the Pope spoke of the trips made during 2021, especially the one to Iraq in March, which he described as “a sign of hope after years of war and terrorism. The Iraqi people have the right to regain their dignity and to live in peace. Their religious and cultural roots go back thousands of years: Mesopotamia is a cradle of civilization; it is from there that God called Abraham to inaugurate the history of salvation,” the Holy Father added.
He continued, thanking “all those individuals and governments working to ensure that migrants are welcomed and protected, and to support their human promotion and integration in the countries that have received them,” renewing his gratitude to the Italian authorities, thanks to whom some people were able to come with him to Rome from Cyprus and Greece at the end of last year. “This was a simple yet meaningful gesture,” he commented.
Furthermore, on the international situation, the successor of Peter expressed his regret that no progress had been made in the peace process between Israel and Palestine over the past year. “I would truly like to see these two peoples rebuild mutual trust and resume speaking directly to each other, in order to reach the point where they can live in two states, side by side, in peace and security, without hatred and resentment, but the healing born of mutual forgiveness,” he insisted.
The Holy Father also returned to his message for the World Day of Peace, celebrated on January 1, highlighting the elements he considers essential to foster a culture of dialogue and fraternity. “Education holds a special place, since it trains the younger generation, the future and hope of the world. Education is in fact the primary vehicle of integral human development, for it makes individuals free and responsible”, he underscored, considering that the educational process “gives rise to culture and builds bridges of encounter between peoples”. The second element he recalled was work, “an indispensable factor in building and keeping peace.”
The Pope concluded by quoting the Prophet Jeremiah “God has ‘plans for [our] welfare and not for evil, to give [us] a future and a hope’” (29:11), inviting the ambassadors, their families and peoples, to make room for peace, nourishing dialogue and fraternity. “The gift of peace is ‘contagious’; it radiates from the hearts of those who long for it and aspire to share it, and spreads throughout the whole world.”