Buenos Aires Times

world PONTIFF ON POLITICS

Pope: Nationalist leaders are undermining global diplomacy

Francis also vowed justice for victims of clerical sex abuse, describing paedophilia as one of the "vilest" crimes ahead of a historic global meet on the crisis roiling the Church.

Tuesday 8 January, 2019
Pope Francis speaks during an audience with the members of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See.
Pope Francis speaks during an audience with the members of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See. Foto:Ettore Ferrari/Pool Photo via AP

Related News

Nationalist leaders are weakening the world's system of multilateral diplomacy, Pope Francis has warned in his annual address to ambassadors to the Holy See.

The pope decried "the resurgence of nationalistic tendencies at odds with the vocation of international organisations to be a setting for dialogue and encounter for all countries." 

The Argentine pontiff highlighted "a certain inability of the multilateral system to offer effective solutions to a number of long unresolved situations, like certain protracted conflicts."

Today's rise to power of populist and nationalist leaders mirrors what happened between the two world wars, when the United Nations' predecessor, the League of Nations, failed in its efforts to prevent conflict, Francis said. 

"The reappearance of these impulses today is progressively weakening the multilateral system, resulting in a general lack of trust, a crisis of credibility in international political life, and a gradual marginalisation of the most vulnerable members of the family of nations," he said.

Vows 'justice' for abuse victims

Francis also vowed justice for victims of clerical sex abuse, describing paedophilia as one of the "vilest" crimes ahead of a historic global meet on the crisis roiling the Church.

"I cannot refrain from speaking of one of the plagues of our time, which sadly has also involved some members of the clergy," he said in his annual address to ambassadors to the Holy See.

"The abuse of minors is one of the vilest and most heinous crimes conceivable. Such abuse inexorably sweeps away the best of what human life holds out for innocent children, and causes irreparable and lifelong damage," he said.

Francis swore to "render justice to minors", and said a meeting of the world's bishops in February was "meant to be a further step in the Church’s efforts to shed full light on the facts and to alleviate the wounds caused by such crimes."

A litany of child sexual abuse scandals has rocked the Catholic Church, which has 1.3 billion followers around the world.

In December the pontiff had vowed the Church would never again treat abuse allegations without "seriousness and promptness", calling on abusers to hand themselves in to police.

Steady drip of scandal

The Argentine has struggled to resolve the problem as the steady drip of scandal corrodes the church's authority amid sharp divisions in Rome over how to handle the fallout, and an apparently endless stream of bad news.

In the latest case to shake the Catholic Church, the highest-profile Catholic cleric to be caught up in a paedophile scandal in France went on trial on Monday charged with failing to report a priest who abused boy scouts in the 1980s and 90s.

Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, the archbishop of Lyon, in central eastern France, is accused along with five others from his diocese of helping cover up abuse in one of the parishes in the area.

On Friday the Vatican confirmed that an Argentine bishop who has held a senior position at the Holy See since 2017, is under preliminary investigation over sex abuse claims.

- TIMES/AFP

Op-Ed

Top Stories

  1. 1Regional leaders convene in Santiago to kick off PROSUR initiativeRegional leaders convene in Santiago to kick off PROSUR initiative
  2. 2Regional leaders to bury UNASUR, launch new PROSUR alliance on Friday
  3. 3Chilean towns to fine men for street harassment of women
  4. 4Copa América 2019 tickets go on sale today
  5. 5Brazil Supreme Court ruling complicates Lava Jato probe
  6. 6Airlines and labour unions at odds in low-cost flight revolution
  7. 7Women-only taxi app Sara LT sees rapid growth in first month of operation
  8. 8Prosecutors request arrest of Techint CEO Paolo Rocca
  9. 9CFK publishes Florencia's medical records in bid to dismiss rumours
  10. 10Blood results fail to show Natacha Jaitt consumed cocaine prior to death