Pope Francis and the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, have pleaded with humanity “not to look the other way” on injustices such as inequality, “the scandal of hunger”, poverty and extremism, as well as on the need to cultivate an “integral ecology”.

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This morning in the Vatican Apostolic Palace the Holy Father Francis received in audience the Secretary General of the United Nations, His Excellency António Guterres, who subsequently met with His Eminence Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by His Excellency Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States.

The meeting, according to the tradition of audiences granted by the Pontiffs to the various Secretaries General of the United Nations over time, took place in proximity to the anniversary of the founding of the aforementioned Organization, on this occasion the 75th.

During the cordial discussions, the Holy See expressed its consideration for the United Nations’ commitment to peace in the world. The parties then focused on the process of implementing the Sustainable Development Goals, and on the crisis of multilateralism, made particularly evident by the difficulties of managing certain current problems such as migration and human trafficking, climate change and disarmament.

Attention then turned also to several situations of conflict, social instability and grave humanitarian emergencies.

(Source: Vatican Press Office)

Video Message of the Pope:

It is good that this meeting of ours takes place in the days leading up to Christmas. These are days when our eyes are turned to heaven to entrust to God the people and situations we hold most dear. In this gaze we recognize ourselves as children of one Father, as brothers.

Let us give thanks for all the good that is in the world, for the many who commit themselves freely, for those who spend their lives in service, for those who do not give up and build a more human and just society. We know: we cannot save ourselves by ourselves.

We cannot, we must not look the other way in the face of injustice, inequality, the scandal of hunger in the world, of poverty, of children who die because they lack water, food, the necessary care.

We cannot look the other way in the face of any kind of abuse of children. We must all fight this scourge together.

We cannot close our eyes to the many brothers and sisters of ours who, due to conflict and violence, misery or climate change, leave their countries and often meet a sad fate.

We must not remain indifferent to the trampled and exploited human dignity, to the attacks against human life, both that which has not yet been born and that of every person in need of care.

We cannot, we must not look the other way when believers of various faiths are persecuted in different parts of the world.

The use of religion to incite hatred, violence, oppression, extremism and blind fanaticism, as well as to force people into exile and marginalization, cries out for revenge before God.

But the arms race and nuclear rearmament also cries out for revenge before God. And it is immoral not only the use but also the possession of nuclear weapons, which are so destructive that even the mere danger of an accident represents a grim threat to humanity.

We must not be indifferent to the many wars that continue to be fought and which claim so many innocent victims.

Trust in dialogue between people and between nations, in multilateralism, in the role of international organizations, in diplomacy as a tool for understanding and understanding, is indispensable for building a peaceful world.

Let us recognize ourselves as members of one humanity, and let us take care of our earth which, generation after generation, has been entrusted to our care by God so that we may cultivate it and bequeath it to our children. The commitment to reduce polluting emissions and to an integral ecology is urgent and necessary: let us do something before it is too late!

Let us listen to the voice of many young people who help us to become aware of what is happening in the world today and ask us to be peacemakers and builders, together and not alone, of a more human and just civilization.

May Christmas, in its genuine simplicity, remind us that what really counts in life is love.

(Source: Vatican Press Office)

Video message of the Secretary General:

Muchísimas gracias, Santo Padre, por esta tan calida bienvenida. [Thank you very much, Holy Father, for your very warm welcome.]

You are a messenger for hope and humanity – for reducing human suffering and promoting human dignity.

Your clear moral voice shines through – whether you are speaking out on the plight of the most vulnerable, including refugees and migrants … confronting poverty and inequalities… appealing for disarmament… building bridges between communities … and, of course, highlighting the climate emergency through your historic encyclical, ‘Laudato Si’, and so many other vital efforts.

These messages coincide with the core values of the United Nations Charter – namely to reaffirm the dignity and worth of the human person.

To promote love of people and care for our planet.

To uphold our common humanity and protect our common home. Our world needs that more than ever.

Coming to Rome from the COP25 in Madrid, I call on all countries around the globe to commit to carbon neutrality by 2050, in line with what the scientific community tells us is necessary to rescue the planet.

Your Holiness,

I am very grateful for your exceptional global engagement and strong support for our work in the United Nations, including your memorable visit to the UN headquarters in 2015, as the world reached agreement on the Sustainable Development Goals, our blueprint for a fair globalization.

And our meeting is especially meaningful during this Christmas season.

This is a time of peace and goodwill and I am sad to witness Christian communities – including some of the world’s oldest – unable to celebrate Christmas in safety.

Tragically we see Jews being murdered in synagogues, their gravestones defaced with swastikas; Muslims gunned down in mosques, their religious sites vandalized; Christians killed at prayers, their churches torched.

We need to do more to promote mutual understanding and tackle rising hatred.

Your Holiness, I want to express my deep appreciation for your extraordinary service in promoting interfaith relations – including your landmark declaration with the Grand Imam of Al- Azhar on “human fraternity for world peace and living together”.

This declaration is extremely important when we see such dramatic attacks on religious freedom and the lives of believers.

The United Nations has also launched a Plan of Action to Safeguard Religious Sites and a strategy to combat hate speech.

In these turbulent and trying times, we must stand together for peace and harmony.

And that is the spirit of this season. And that is reflected in your vision, guidance and example.

My deepest thanks to you, your Holiness, and my best wishes, to all those celebrating, for a Christmas in peace and a blessed new year.

(Source: Zenit)

Video of the two leaders:

Tweets after the meeting:

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