Pope Francis warned against the spiritual poverty afflicting the "so-called richer countries" when he addressed diplomats accredited to the Holy See this morning.
He continued to cast aside papal protocol, giving a brief message in Italian rather than the traditional language of diplomacy, French, and not sitting on the papal throne.
He said that the Holy See valued "the good of every person upon this earth". He reflected on the Church's commitment to the poor before adding:
"There is another form of poverty ... It is the spiritual poverty of our time, which afflicts the so-called richer countries particularly seriously. It is what my much-loved predecessor, Benedict XVI, called the ‘dictatorship of relativism', which makes everyone his own criterion and endangers the coexistence of peoples."
He also stressed his desire to deepen interfaith dialogue and how true religion involved concern for one's neighbour. "It is not possible to build bridges between people while forgetting God. But the converse is also true: it is not possible to establish true links with God, while ignoring other people. Hence it is important to intensify dialogue among the various religions, and I am thinking particularly of dialogue with Islam," he said.
Above and homepage: Diplomats welcome the new Pope. Photo: CNS