Vatican City, 13 December 2013 (VIS) – This morning in the Vatican Apostolic Palace Archbishop Pietro Parolin, secretary of State, met with the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See, greeting again the ambassadors he has already met during his service in the Secretariat of State, and introducing himself to those he had not yet met.

After thanking the Diplomatic Corps for their congratulations upon his nomination as secretary of State, and extending his Christmas and New Year greetings, the archbishop gave an address in French, extensive extracts of which are published below:

“In a time in which many parts of the world are faced with numerous forms of violence and the persistence of social inequality, I would like to renew before you the guarantee of my willingness to collaborate in the search for peace and respect for the dignity of every human being”.

“We must show that peace is possible, that it is not a utopia … but rather a real asset that comes from God, and which we are able to contribute to building through personal and joint commitment. … For this, it is necessary to work together for the establishment of a true culture of peace, courageously responding to the challenges that imperil the authentic co-existence of people and populations. To do this, we answer to one of the deepest aspirations of man, the aspiration to well-being. Is the mission of diplomats not that of working for a better world, for the establishment or strengthening of ever-more fraternal relations?”

“As Pope Francis has expressed many times, the human being - every man and every woman living in our world - is created to experience joy and seeks … true joy. Certainly, in the many circumstances encountered along the way, that joy is often obscured. It is not always apparent. However, it is present in the good that is done every day, in the beauty of nature, of people, of events … It is also found in progress towards peace and towards mutual understanding between peoples, fragile and limited though this may seem. It is the joy of encounter and exchange, of dialogue and reconciliation”.

“This is the humanity that we seek to build together! A humanity that it a true family, a humanity in which dialogue prevails over war for the resolution of disagreements, a humanity in which the strength of the powerful compensates for the frailty of the weak, and where the force of the weak compensates for the fragility of the powerful”.

“We know that many of today's men and women are in need, along their path, of encounter with profoundly human and brotherly people able to give them hope for the future. Pope Francis wants Christians to be these people, and hopes that the Church will proclaim, witness and bring joy, as he repeated in the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, which can ideally be read in conjunction with the letter that he addressed to his faithful as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, at the opening of the Year of Faith. From the beginning, it speaks of a Church whose doors are open, a symbol of light, friendship, joy, freedom and trust. To conclude the Year of Faith, in a letter addressed to the universal Church, Pope Francis repeated his wish for a Church that is less concerned with strengthening her confines, instead seeking encounter and communicating the joy of the Gospel”.

“For Christians, this joy is fundamental to the person of Jesus, whose birth we celebrate a few days from now. May joy and peace help your people to grow and advance towards a better future!”.