Pope Francis has some surprising things to say about the state of the world.
On Monday, Pope Francis delivered his annual address to his diplomatic corps, ambassadors from 183 nations to the Holy See. The speech outlined a bold vision for a peaceful, free and just world. The pontiff touched on themes that have been in the headlines, like the Syrian war and the Rohingya refugee crisis.
But he also drilled down on development topics like child labor, global inequality and the threat of technological advances that may put millions of people, especially the poorest, out of work.
Here are a few highlights from his speech, delivered at the Vatican Apostolic Palace in Vatican City:
Stop the anti-migration rhetoric
“Today there is much talk about migrants and migration, at times only for the sake of stirring up primal fears. It must not be forgotten that migration has always existed … Nor should we forget that freedom of movement, for example, the ability to leave one’s own country and to return there, is a fundamental human right. There is a need, then, to abandon the familiar rhetoric and start from the essential consideration that we are dealing, above all, with persons.”
Give thanks to countries that have taken in refugees
“It is … important that the many refugees who have found shelter and refuge in neighboring countries, especially in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, be able to return home. The commitment and efforts made by these countries in this difficult situation deserve the appreciation and support of the entire international community. …”
“I renew my sentiments of gratitude to the Bangladeshi authorities for the assistance provided to [the Rohingya refugees] on their own territory.”
End the war in Syria
“It is … important for the various peace initiatives aimed at helping Syria to continue … so that the lengthy conflict that has caused such immense suffering can finally come to an end. Our shared hope is that, after so much destruction, the time for rebuilding has now come.”
Invest in medicines and treatments that are not always profitable
“It is important to join forces in order to implement policies that ensure, at affordable costs, the provision of medicines essential for the survival of those in need, without neglecting the area of research and the development of treatments that, albeit not financially profitable, are essential for saving human lives.”
Beware of robots taking away jobs
“In many parts of the world, employment is scarcely available. At times, few opportunities exist, especially for young people, to find work. Often it is easily lost not only due to the effects of alternating economic cycles, but to the increasing use of ever more perfect and precise technologies and tools that can replace human beings.”
Close the gap between the rich and poor
“There is a risk that … we will see the rise of modern forms of ideological colonization by the stronger and the wealthier, to the detriment of the poorer and the most vulnerable.”
End child labor, a growing global phenomenon
“We cannot think of planning a better future, or hope to build more inclusive societies, if we continue to maintain economic models directed to profit alone and the exploitation of those who are most vulnerable, such as children.”