Francis asks ambassadors to encourage non-violence in face of terrorism

by Joshua J. McElwee

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Pope Francis has asked ambassadors accredited to the Vatican to encourage non-violent reactions to recent acts of terrorism and war, and has said he opened the Jubilee year of mercy partly to try and encourage efforts to stop violent conflict through reconciliation.

In an audience with four new Vatican ambassadors Thursday, the pontiff that this year “was unfortunately marked by a multiplication of violent conflicts, whether war or terrorism.”

“On the other hand, this situation is provoking in the most mature consciences a reaction that is not violent, but spiritual and moral,” the pope continued.

“It is this that we want to and must foment with the means at our disposition and according to our responsibilities,” he said.

“The Catholic church, according to its mission [and] with the Jubilee of mercy that just started, offers itself in all the world to spread the spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation, calling the faithful and men and women of good will to open themselves to the gift of the grace of God and to practice what in our tradition are the spiritual and corporal works of mercy,” said the pope.

Francis was speaking Thursday during the formal ceremony for the presentation of the credentials of the new ambassadors of Guinea, Latvia, India, and Bahrain to the Holy See.

The pontiff also spoke to the ambassadors about his recently published 2016 World Day of Peace message, titled “Overcome Indifference and Win Peace,” and his encyclical letter Laudato Si’.

[Joshua J. McElwee is NCR Vatican correspondent. His email address is Follow him on Twitter: @joshjmac.]

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