Pope Francis on abortion, terrorism, the Iran deal and more
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis on Monday delivered an in depth address on the “state of the world,” in which he spoke about everything from abortion to terrorism to the exploitation of the poor for political ends.
The pope’s address, delivered to diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See during their 2016 exchange of greetings for the new year, focused primarily on the migration crisis, its causes and proposed solutions.
Here are 10 key quotes from the pope’s address. Read the full address here.
Abortion: “Persons are no longer seen as a paramount value to be cared for and respected, especially when poor or disabled, or “not yet useful” — like the unborn, or “no longer needed” — like the elderly.”
Attempts to Redefine Marriage: “The family … is the first and most important school of mercy, in which we learn to see God’s loving face and to mature and develop as human beings. Sadly, we recognize the numerous challenges presently facing families, ‘threatened by growing efforts on the part of some to redefine the very institution of marriage by relativism, by the culture of the ephemeral, by a lack of openness to life.’”
Radical Islamic Terrorism: “Only a distorted ideological form of religion can think that justice is done in the name of the Almighty by deliberately slaughtering defenseless persons, as in the brutal terrorist attacks which occurred in recent months in Africa, Europe and the Middle East.”
Christian Persecution: “Now as then, we hear the angel say: ‘Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there till I tell you’ (Matt. 2:13). His is the voice heard by many migrants who would never have left their homeland had they not been forced to. Among these are many Christians who in great numbers have abandoned their native lands these past years, despite the fact that they have dwelt there from the earliest days of Christianity.”
Human Trafficking: “Where regular migration is impossible, migrants are often forced to turn to human traffickers or smugglers, even though they are aware that in the course of their journey they may well lose their possessions, their dignity and even their lives. In this context I once more appeal for an end to trafficking in persons, which turns human beings, especially the weakest and most defenseless, into commodities. The image of all those children who died at sea, victims of human callousness and harsh weather, will remain forever imprinted on our minds and hearts. Those who survive and reach a country that accepts them bear the deep and indelible scars of these experiences, in addition to those left by the atrocities which always accompany wars and violence.”
Human Dignity: “The Holy See trusts that, amid today’s sad context of conflicts and disasters, the First World Humanitarian Summit, convened by the United Nations for May 2016, will succeed in its goal of placing the person and human dignity at the heart of every humanitarian response. What is needed is a common commitment which can decisively turn around the culture of waste and lack of respect for human life, so that no one will feel neglected or forgotten, and that no further lives will be sacrificed due to the lack of resources and, above all, of political will.”
Exploiting the Poor for Political Ends: “Sadly, now as then, we hear the voice of Judah who counsels selling his own brother (cf. Gen. 37:26-27). His is the arrogance of the powerful who exploit the weak, reducing them to means for their own ends or for strategic and political schemes.”
Terrorism and the Western Abandonment of Christian Roots: “Extremism and fundamentalism find fertile soil not only in the exploitation of religion for purposes of power but also in the vacuum of ideals and the loss of identity — including religious identity — which dramatically marks the so-called West.”
The Iran Deal: “[The year] 2015 witnessed the conclusion of important international agreements, which give solid hope for the future. I think first of the so-called Iran nuclear deal, which I hope will contribute to creating a climate of détente in the region.”
Climate Change: “This significant accord represents for the entire international community an important achievement; it reflects a powerful collective realization of the grave responsibility incumbent on individuals and nations to protect creation, to promote a ‘culture of care which permeates all of society.’ It is now essential that those commitments prove more than simply a good intention, but rather a genuine duty incumbent on all states to do whatever is needed to safeguard our beloved earth for the sake of all mankind, especially generations yet to come.”
Diane Montagnais Rome correspondent for Aleteia’s English edition.