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The Diplomatic Corps’ audience with the Holy Father

16/02/2005: Vatican

The Church is always directly engaged in the great causes for which the men and women of our age struggle and hope. For this reason, at the start of each year the Pope receives the Ambassadors and members of the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See in order to offer them his New Year greetings and his message as a guide in meeting the great challenges facing humanity today.
The first – John Paul II said – is the challenge of life. Life is the first gift that God has given us; it is the first resource that people can enjoy. The Church, who proclaims “the Gospel of Life”, asks that it be respected from its beginning until its end.
The second challenge is that of food. The statistics on world hunger are dramatic: hundreds of millions of human beings are suffering from grave malnutrition, and each year millions of children die of hunger or its effects. The alarm has been raised for some time now, but a greater awareness and mobilisation are necessary especially in countries enjoying a sufficient or even prosperous standard of living.

There is also the challenge of peace, a supreme good and the condition for attaining many other essential goods. But so many wars and armed conflicts continue to take place! “Like my venerable predecessors, I have spoken out countless times… and I will continue to do so… The arrogance of power must be countered with reason, force with dialogue, pointed weapons with outstretched hands, evil with good.”
And finally the challenge of freedom, which is indeed a right of each individual that enables all to find fulfilment in a manner befitting their nature because it gives them the possibility to choose responsibly their proper goals and the right means of achieving them.

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