Below please find the full text of Pope Francis’ address to the UN delegation
Mr Secretary General,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
am pleased to welcome you, Mr Secretary-General and the leading
executive officers of the Agencies, Funds and Programmes of the United
Nations and specialized Organizations, as you gather in Rome for the
biannual meeting for strategic coordination of the United Nations System
Chief Executives Board.
It is significant that today’s meeting takes
place shortly after the solemn canonization of my predecessors, Popes
John XXIII and John Paul II. The new saints inspire us by their
passionate concern for integral human development and for understanding
between peoples. This concern was concretely expressed by the numeous
visits of John Paul II to the Organizations headquartered in Rome and by
his travels to New York, Geneva, Vienna, Nairobi and The Hague.
thank you, Mr Secretary-General, for your cordial words of introduction.
I thank all of you, who are primarily responsible for the international
system, for the great efforts being made to ensure world peace, respect
for human dignity, the protection of persons, especially the poorest
and most vulnerable, and harmonious economic and social development.
results of the Millennium Development Goals, especially in terms of
education and the decrease in extreme poverty, confirm the value of the
work of coordination carried out by this Chief Executives Board. At the
same time, it must be kept in mind that the world’s peoples deserve and
expect even greater results.
An essential principle of management is
the refusal to be satisfied with current results and to press forward,
in the conviction that those gains are only consolidated by working to
achieve even more. In the case of global political and economic
organization, much more needs to be achieved, since an important part of
humanity does not share in the benefits of progress and is in fact
relegated to the status of second-class citizens. Future Sustainable
Development Goals must therefore be formulated and carried out with
generosity and courage, so that they can have a real impact on the
structural causes of poverty and hunger, attain more substantial results
in protecting the environment, ensure dignified and productive labor
for all, and provide appropriate protection for the family, which is an
essential element in sustainable human and social development.
Specifically, this involves challenging all forms of injustice and
resisting the “economy of exclusion”, the “throwaway culture” and the
“culture of death” which nowadays sadly risk becoming passively
With this in mind, I would like to remind you, as
representatives of the chief agencies of global cooperation, of an
incident which took place two thousand years ago and is recounted in the
Gospel of Saint Luke (19:1-10). It is the encounter between Jesus
Christ and the rich tax collector Zacchaeus, as a result of which
Zacchaeus made a radical decision of sharing and justice, because his
conscience had been awakened by the gaze of Jesus. This same spirit
should be at the beginning and end of all political and economic
activity. The gaze, often silent, of that part of the human family which
is cast off, left behind, ought to awaken the conscience of political
and economic agents and lead them to generous and courageous decisions
with immediate results, like the decision of Zacchaeus. Does this spirit
of solidarity and sharing guide all our thoughts and actions?
in concrete terms, an awareness of the dignity of each of our brothers
and sisters whose life is sacred and inviolable from conception to
natural death must lead us to share with complete freedom the goods
which God’s providence has placed in our hands, material goods but also
intellectual and spiritual ones, and to give back generously and
lavishly whatever we may have earlier unjustly refused to others.
account of Jesus and Zacchaeus teaches us that above and beyond
economic and social systems and theories, there will always be a need to
promote generous, effective and practical openness to the needs of
others. Jesus does not ask Zacchaeus to change jobs nor does he condemn
his financial activity; he simply inspires him to put everything, freely
yet immediately and indisputably, at the service of others.
Consequently, I do not hesitate to state, as did my predecessors (cf.
JOHN PAUL II, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 42-43; Centesimus Annus, 43;
BENEDICT XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 6; 24-40), that equitable economic
and social progress can only be attained by joining scientific and
technical abilities with an unfailing commitment to solidarity
accompanied by a generous and disinterested spirit of gratuitousness at
every level. A contribution to this equitable development will also be
made both by international activity aimed at the integral human
development of all the world’s peoples and by the legitimate
redistribution of economic benefits by the State, as well as
indispensable cooperation between the private sector and civil society.
while encouraging you in your continuing efforts to coordinate the
activity of the international agencies, which represents a service to
all humanity, I urge you to work together in promoting a true, worldwide
ethical mobilization which, beyond all differences of religious or
political convictions, will spread and put into practice a shared ideal
of fraternity and solidarity, especially with regard to the poorest and
those most excluded.
Invoking divine guidance on the work of your
Board, I also implore God’s special blessing for you, Mr
Secretary-General, for the Presidents, Directors and Secretaries General
present among us, and for all the personnel of the United Nations and
the other international Agencies and Bodies, and their respective
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