Promote a Culture That Prioritizes Human Dignity: Pope Francis

Pope Francis meets with members of Leaders Pour la Paix at the Vatican on Sept. 4, 2021. Vatican News/CNA

Pope Francis said Saturday that politics needs a renewal after the pandemic through the promotion of a culture that prioritizes human dignity.

“The pandemic, with its long aftermath of isolation and 'social hypertension,’ has inevitably also challenged political action itself, politics as we know it,” Pope Francis said on Sept. 4.

“It is therefore a question of working simultaneously on two levels: cultural and institutional,” he said.

The pope told members of the organization, Leaders Pour la Paix (Leaders for Peace), that helping others to understand the root causes of problems can be considered an “education for peace.”

“It is important to promote a ‘culture of faces,’ which places the dignity of the person at the center, a respect for his or her story, especially if they are wounded and marginalized,” he said in an audience with the group at the Vatican.


“It is also a ‘culture of encounter’ in which we listen to and welcome our brothers and sisters, with trust in the reserves of good that are in the hearts of the people.”

Leaders Pour la Paix is an organization founded by the former French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin that brings together high-level government representatives from around the world.

U.S Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Ban Ki-moon, former secretary-general of the United Nations, are among the its board of leaders, along with Kamal Kharazi, the former Iranian foreign minister, and Quan Kong, a member of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party.

The group of 36 world leaders aims to reduce conflicts through prevention by alerting public opinion and decision-makers on risky situations and their consequences, according to its website.

Pope Francis meets with members of Leaders Pour la Paix. Vatican Media/CNA

Pope Francis meets with members of Leaders Pour la Paix. Vatican Media/CNA

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Pope Francis encouraged the members of the organization to pursue peace through multilateral institutions.

“It is urgent to encourage dialogue and multilateral collaboration, because multilateral agreements better guarantee the protection of a truly universal common good and of the weakest states than bilateral ones,” he said.

The pope underlined that this is “a particularly critical historical moment” in which the pandemic has not yet been overcome and its economic and social consequences are weighing heavily on “the lives of the poorest.”

“Not only has it impoverished the human family of many lives, each one precious and unrepeatable; it has also sown much desolation and increased tensions,” Francis said.

“Faced with the worsening of multiple converging political and environmental crises - hunger, climate, nuclear weapons to name a few - your commitment to peace has never been so necessary and urgent.”


Courtney Mares is a Rome Correspondent for Catholic News Agency. A graduate of Harvard University, she has reported from news bureaus on three continents and was awarded the Gardner Fellowship for her work with North Korean refugees.