Pope Benedict XVI has denounced the failure of world leaders to agree to a new climate change treaty in Copenhagen last month, saying that world peace depends on safeguarding God’s creation. He also criticised the “economic and political resistance” to fighting environmental degradation.
The statement came in an annual speech to ambassadors in which the pontiff reflects on issues the Vatican wants to highlight.
So what will the Vatican’s foreign policy be in 2010?
Paulo Alberto from Euronews talked to Alessandro Magister, a specialist on Vatican affairs, in Rome.
Paulo Alberto: So what has come out of this meeting? What will the Vatican’s foreign policy be in 2010?
Alessandro Magister: This year, the main issue is the environment, safeguarding “the creation”. But listen carefully because the Vatican has a unique take on this. As Benedict XVI said in his speech to the diplomats, the support that the Catholic Church wants to offer towards the global effort to save the environment is very particular. In the view of Benedict XVI, this is to understand and to demonstrate that there is an unbreakable link between “ecology” and “nature” and between “ecology” and “human beings”.
Paulo Alberto: From this idea, the Pope has outlined a number of problems; terrorism for instance. Is the church trying to affirm its commitment to peace via ecology?
Alessandro Magister: No, pacifism has no connection with the church’s activities in the world. Being pacifist concerns individuals, not a complex organisation like a State or a Church. As far as the Church’s doctrine goes, the State is obliged to protect the weak, those who have been victimised, even if it takes force to do so.
Paulo Alberto: So the Church is not pacifist?
Alessandro Magister: No, absolutely not! Even John Paul II – and everyone remembers how opposed he was to the war in Iraq – even he defined himself as a non-pacifist. He said, very clearly, “I am not a pacifist.” Remember that John Paul II asked for the use of force in situations like the ex-Yugoslavia, torn apart by civil and ethnic wars, and in Rwanda.
Paulo Alberto: Thank you.