Pope to diplomats: Politics is forward-looking, not only short-term solutions
As one of the most important speeches each year, Pope Francis delivered his new year greeting to the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See. The pope is thus able to take speak to all the global representatives in one place, pointing out the achievements and denouncing the errors of international politics.
First, the pope criticized disorganized globalization. He said it's partly due to the emergence of populist and nationalist tendencies and increasingly sectarian national policies.
"I consider it important that at the present time there is a desire for a serene and constructive dialogue between States. Even though it is evident that relations within the international community, and the multilateral system as a whole, are going through difficult moments. This is with the resurgence of nationalist tendencies that undermine the vocation of international organizations as a space for dialogue and encounter for all countries."
For that reason, he advocated for a multilateral diplomacy, instead of the powerful taking over the weak. He also launched an appeal to politicians.
"Politics is required to be forward-looking and not to limit itself to looking for short-term solutions. A good politician must not occupy spaces, but start processes. He is called to make unity prevail over conflict, at the basis of which is "solidarity, understood in its deepest and most challenging sense."
Pope Francis recalled the wars in Yemen, in Ukraine and especially in Syria. He spoke of the millions of refugees the wars have generated, many of them Christians. That is why he insisted that Christians must remain in the Middle East.
"It is extremely important that Christians have a place in the future of the region. Therefore, I encourage those who have sought refuge elsewhere to do their best to return home and maintain and strengthen ties with their communities of origin."
The pope again asked the nations not to close the doors to people forced to flee their homes.
"Every human being yearns for a better and happier life. The challenge of migration cannot be solved with the logic of violence and discarding people, nor with partial solutions."
He lamented other scourges that violate human rights, such as sexual abuse of minors and violence against women, as well as the consequences of climate change. He also had harsh words against arms trade and its influence on international politics.
"International relations cannot be dominated by military forces, by reciprocal intimidation, by ostentation of military arsenals."
Pope Francis also did not want to forget the dramatic situation facing countries like Nicaragua, Venezuela, Iraq, the Central African Republic, Niger, Nigeria, Mali and Cameroon. Yet, he also celebrated monumental agreements between Eritrea and Ethiopia and signs of peace in South Sudan as well as the Korean peninsula.
Finally, he remembered that 2019 marks the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. He wished Europe would never be tempted to build new walls.