Friday, March 22, 2013

Pope Francis Speaks of Two Kinds of Poverty & Did Not Speak French - Address to Diplomatic Corps

I got very early to see Pope Francis speak to the Diplomatic Corp this morning  since it was a key address. Vatican Radio got a the English translation pretty quick. See Pope Francis to Diplomatic Corps: Church fighting poverty, building bridges (full text) . One part that will likely get a lot of attention is this :

As you know, there are various reasons why I chose the name of Francis of Assisi, a familiar figure far beyond the borders of Italy and Europe, even among those who do not profess the Catholic faith. One of the first reasons was Francis’ love for the poor. How many poor people there still are in the world! And what great suffering they have to endure! After the example of Francis of Assisi, the Church in every corner of the globe has always tried to care for and look after those who suffer from want, and I think that in many of your countries you can attest to the generous activity of Christians who dedicate themselves to helping the sick, orphans, the homeless and all the marginalized, thus striving to make society more humane and more just.

But there is another form of poverty! It is the spiritual poverty of our time, which afflicts the so-called richer countries particularly seriously. It is what my much-loved predecessor, Benedict XVI, called the “tyranny of relativism”, which makes everyone his own criterion and endangers the coexistence of peoples. And that brings me to a second reason for my name. Francis of Assisi tells us we should work to build peace. But there is no true peace without truth! There cannot be true peace if everyone is his own criterion, if everyone can always claim exclusively his own rights, without at the same time caring for the good of others, of everyone, on the basis of the nature that unites every human being on this earth.

John Allen very quickly had a post out about this address.  See Francis vows to press Benedict's fight vs. 'dictatorship of relativism' . On the twitter after this I had an interesting conversation with a journalist that observed so far the Pope has just been talking in Italian . Today was not exception which is very different for an event like this. Allen engages that too and gives some clarification.



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