Pope Francis to visit Kazakhstan in September – Catholic World Report

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Vatican City, December 20, 2019 / 07:40 (CNA).- Pope Francis and United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres together recorded a video message at the Vatican on Friday in which the two leaders stress the importance of religious freedom and human dignity. , and environmental protection.

“We must not remain indifferent to the flouting and exploitation of human dignity, to the attacks on human life, whether still unborn or that of anyone in need of care,” Pope Francis said in the video message recorded with The UN Secretary General at the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican on December 20.

“We cannot, we must not turn away when believers of different faiths are persecuted, in different parts of the world. The use of religion to incite hatred…calls for God’s justice,” the pope said.

The UN Secretary General added: “Tragically, we see Jews being murdered in synagogues, their tombstones defaced with swastikas; Muslims gunned down in mosques, their religious sites vandalized; Christians killed at prayer, their churches burnt down. We must do more to promote mutual understanding and counter rising hatred.

“Our meeting is particularly significant at this Christmas time. It is a time of peace and goodwill and I am sad to see Christian communities – including some of the oldest in the world – unable to celebrate Christmas safely,” said António Guterres.

Antonio Guterres, former Prime Minister of Portugal, has served as UN Secretary General since 2017. He first met Pope Francis in the Vatican as UN High Commissioner for Refugees in 2013 and then again in as Secretary General during the Pope’s 2015 visit to UN Headquarters. in Geneva.

“You are a messenger of hope and humanity – to reduce human suffering and promote human dignity,” the UN secretary-general told the pope.

He thanked Pope Francis for being a “clear moral voice” and for promoting interreligious relations, notably through the Abu Dhabi declaration on human brotherhood with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar.

“This statement is extremely important as we see such dramatic attacks on religious freedom and the lives of believers,” he said. “The United Nations has also launched an Action Plan for Safeguarding Religious Sites and a Strategy to Combat Hate Speech.”

In August, the United Nations General Assembly inaugurated the first International Day of Commemoration for the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief, which will be observed each year on August 22.

The UN secretary general also thanked Pope Francis for highlighting the issue of climate change in his encyclical Laudato Si.

“Promoting love for people and caring for our planet. To defend our common humanity and protect our common home. Our world needs it more than ever. Coming to Rome from COP25 in Madrid, I call on all countries in the world to commit to carbon neutrality by 2050, in line with what the scientific community tells us is necessary to save the planet,” said António Guterres.

Pope Francis said the need to reduce polluting emissions is “urgent and necessary” for an integral ecology. “Let’s do something before it’s too late,” he said.

In a private 40-minute meeting at the Vatican, the two leaders discussed ‘the crisis of multilateralism’ by addressing global issues such as migration, human trafficking, climate change and disarmament, according to the Office. Press of the Holy See.

They also focused on the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, as well as current conflict situations and humanitarian emergencies.

After the meeting, the UN Secretary-General also met with Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin and Secretary for Relations with States Richard Gallagher.

“Confidence in dialogue between peoples and between nations, in multilateralism, in the role of international organizations, in diplomacy as a tool for understanding and comprehension, is indispensable for building a peaceful world,” the pope said in the video message.

“Christmas, in its genuine simplicity, reminds us that what really matters in life is love,” he said. “These are days when our eyes are turned to heaven to entrust to God the people and situations we cherish most.”

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