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Pope Francis: to Diplomatic Corps, peace is “distant dream” in too many countries. World in the grip of “senseless conflicts” and “fear”

A hundred years after the First World War, defined by Benedict XVI as a “useless slaughter”, “in which new methods of warfare sowed death and caused immense suffering to the defenceless civil population” and “totalitarian regimes” were the “cause of bitter divisions”, we can say that “many parts of the world have benefited from lengthy periods of peace, which have favoured opportunities for economic development and unprecedented prosperity”. But although “for many people today, peace appears as a blessing to be taken for granted, for all intents an acquired right to which not much thought is given”, “for all too many others, peace remains merely a distant dream”. Pope Francis made this comprehensive analysis in his annual address to the Diplomatic Corps at the beginning of the year. The speech, which, as usual, provides an opportunity to focus on the global situation, was devoted to the theme of peace and security with a view to speaking “a word of hope, which can also indicate a path on which to embark” in “today’s climate of general apprehension for the present, and uncertainty and anxious concern for the future”. “Millions of people still live in the midst of senseless conflicts”, Pope Francis decried. “Even in places once considered secure, a general sense of fear is felt. We are frequently overwhelmed by images of death, by the pain of innocent men, women and children who plead for help and consolation, by the grief of those mourning the loss of a dear one due to hatred and violence, and by the drama of refugees fleeing war and migrants meeting tragic deaths”.

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