Excerpts from Pope Francis’ greeting to the newly accredited Ambassadors to the Holy See, May 18, 2017:
The international scene is at present marked by great complexity, nor is it free of dark clouds. This requires a greater awareness of the approaches and actions needed to pursue the path of peace and to lessen tensions. Among the factors aggravating problems is an economic and financial system that, rather than being at the service of people, is set up principally to serve itself and to evade oversight by public authorities. Those authorities are responsible for the common good, yet they lack the means necessary to moderate the disproportionate appetites of the few.
We also see a greater readiness to have recourse to force, not as a last resort but practically as one means among many, ready to be used without a full consideration of its consequences.
Yet another factor exacerbating conflicts is fundamentalism, the abuse of religion to justify a thirst for power, the manipulation of God’s holy name to advance by any means possible one’s own plans to gain power.
The response to these distortions and the risks they pose to world peace must be the creation of a responsible economic and financial system responsive to the needs of individuals and the communities in which they live. Men and women, not money, must once more become the goal of the economy! We must also confront differences with the courageous patience of dialogue and diplomacy, with initiatives of encounter and peace, and not with shows of force and its hasty and ill-advised use.
It is likewise essential to isolate those who seek to turn a religious affiliation or identity into a motive of hate for all others. Those who befoul the image of God in this way need to be confronted by a concerted commitment to demonstrating that those who honor God’s name save lives, not take them; they bring reconciliation and peace, not division and war; they show mercy and compassion, not indifference and brutality. If we move decisively in this direction, the cause of peace and justice — the conditions of a balanced development for all — will make tangible progress.