Pope Francis greets dignitaries during a meeting with ambassadors to the Holy See at the Vatican Jan. 13.

CNS PHOTO | PAUL HARING

Pope Francis greets dignitaries during a meeting with ambassadors to the Holy See at the Vatican Jan. 13.

February 3, 2014

Pope Francis said world peace requires the defence of human dignity from violations such as world hunger, human trafficking and abortion.

The pope made his remarks Jan. 13 in his first annual address to the Vatican diplomatic corps, offering a survey of world conflicts and crises he said were caused by “envy, selfishness, rivalry and the thirst for power and money.”

Speaking in the Apostolic Palace’s Sala Regia, the vast “royal hall” where popes traditionally received Catholic monarchs, Pope Francis spoke of what he has frequently called a “throwaway culture” exemplified by widespread food waste that leaves children starving or malnourished.

“Unfortunately, what is thrown away is not only food or disposable objects, but often human beings themselves, who are discarded as if they were unnecessary,” he said.

“It is horrifying just to think that there are children, victims of abortion, who will never see the light of day; children being used as soldiers, abused and killed in armed conflicts; children turned into merchandise in that terrible form of modern slavery called human trafficking, which is a crime against humanity.”

The pope also lamented what he called rising numbers of “broken and troubled families,” which he attributed to both moral and material factors.

Those factors include the “weakening sense of belonging so typical of today’s world” as well as the “adverse conditions in which many families are forced to live, even to the point where they lack basic means of subsistence,” he said.