and Happy New Year!
December 25, Christmas Day is the beginning of the liturgical season of Christmas, which continues until the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord on January 8.
Pope Francis's 2023 Christmas Message
Image Source: Vatican News
On Christmas Day, before imparting the “Urbi et Orbi” Blessing, Pope Francis delivered the traditional Christmas Message to the faithful in Saint Peter’s Square and listeners around the world.
In his Message, Pope Francis reminded listeners that the world’s darkness has been overcome by the light of God, that “Christ is born for you.” To say “yes” to the Prince of Peace, Pope Francis said, means saying “no” to every war.
Pope Francis included a prayer for peace in Israel and Palestine, for the resolution of the Palestinian question through persevering dialogue between the parties, sustained by strong political will and the support of the international community. He offered prayers for peace in all areas of the world, including Syria, Yemen, and Ukraine.
“From the manger, the Child Jesus asks us to be the voice of those who have no voice. The voice of the innocent children who have died for lack of bread and water; the voice of those who cannot find work or who have lost their jobs; the voice of those forced to flee their lands in search of a better future, risking their lives in grueling journeys and prey to unscrupulous traffickers.”
–Pope Francis, Message of the Holy Father on the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord, December 25, 2023
Cardinal Parolin Represents Pope Francis at 2023 United Nations Climate Conference in Dubai
Image source: Vatican Media
Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin represented Pope Francis and the Holy See delegation at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28), which took place this month in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
In Pope Francis’s Address on December 2 to the attendees of the conference, which Cardinal Parolin delivered, His Holiness emphasized that the destruction of the environment is an offense against God, “a sin that is not only personal but also structural, one that greatly endangers all human beings, especially the most vulnerable in our midst.”
In his Address, Pope Francis lamented that climate change, which is largely caused by human activity, is the consequence of “inordinate greed that has made the environment the object of unbridled exploitation.” He decried the lack of trust within the international community, and called on conference participants to “rebuild trust, which is the foundation of multilateralism,” which is necessary not only for care of the environment, but also for peace.
Pope Francis expressed his hope that the conference would be a turning point in the fight against climate change, through means that are “efficient, obligatory and readily monitored” and achieved in four sectors: energy efficiency; renewable sources; the elimination of fossil fuels; and education in lifestyles that are less dependent on fossil fuels.
“It is up to this generation to heed the cry of peoples, the young and children, and to lay the foundations of a new multilateralism. Why not begin precisely from our common home? Climate change signals the need for political change. Let us emerge from the narrowness of self-interest and nationalism; these are approaches belonging to the past.”
Pope Francis’s Address at COP28 comes just two months after the publication of the Apostolic Exhortation “Laudate Deum: To All People of Good Will on the Climate Crisis.”
Archbishop Caccia Delivers Statement on Implementing the Gender Provisions of the TPNW
On December 1, 2023, Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, delivered a statement during the Second Meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The discussion was on “implementing the gender provisions of the treaty.”
In the statement, Archbishop Caccia highlighted that, as recognized in the Treaty’s Preamble, the radiation effects of nuclear weapon detonations are disproportionately affecting women and girls. He raised the concern that current regulatory frameworks on radiation exposure in use worldwide are inadequately protecting women, children and the unborn. Archbishop Caccia noted the need for further study of the factors that cause the disproportionate impact of radiation on women and children, as well as on intergenerational consequences of radiation exposure. Without a sound scientific basis, he said, it will be difficult for States Parties to effectively implement the positive obligations of the treaty.
Addressing the Report of the Gender Focal Point, Archbishop Caccia expressed the Holy See’s concern about the problematic elements that depart from the original approach of the TPNW, including undefined language on gender and divisive language on medical care.
Holy See Statement on the Complementarity of the TPNW
On December 1, 2023, Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, issued a statement during the Second Meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The discussion was on “Complementarity of the Treaty with the existing nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime.”
The statement was delivered by Dr. Maryann Cusimano Love, an Advisor at the Holy See Mission.
In the Statement, Archbishop Caccia highlighted that the TPNW complements and advances the implementation of Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which remains the cornerstone of the disarmament and non-proliferation regime. Regarding the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), the Holy See Delegation welcomes the attention in the report to the potential of the International Monitoring System (IMS) to contribute to the effective implementation of positive obligations under the TPNW, Archbishop Caccia said in the Statement.
The Holy See also expressed support for the report of the Co-Facilitators that focused extensively on nuclear-weapon-free zones (NWFZs), which have advanced an anti-nuclear weapons norm. The Holy See also supports greater engagement between TNPW States Parties and the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR), Archbishop Caccia said.
Job Opening: Expert Negotiator for Social, Development and Human Rights Issues
Starting March 2024
The Expert Negotiator for Social, Development and Human Rights Issues of the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the UN works together with the Permanent Observer and the diplomatic staff of the Holy See. The Expert Negotiator attends meetings at the UN related to his or her portfolio of issues, writes reports on those meetings, participates in negotiations on relevant resolutions and documents, drafts and edits statements, and participates in the overall mission of the Holy See to the UN. Under the supervision of the Permanent Observer, the person reports to the diplomat in charge of covering the Second and Third Committee of the General Assembly, as well as the Economic and Social Council.
The expectation would be that the hired candidate would begin by March 1, 2024.
Life of the Mission
Farewell to Ms. Giulia Maniezzi
This month, the Mission bid farewell to Ms. Giulia Maniezzi, who served since 2019 as an Attaché and negotiator for issues relating to international development, humanitarian assistance, migration and refugees, and persons with disabilities.
Ms. Maniezzi initially joined the Mission in 2018 as a Toniolo Institute Fellow while a student at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan. She is now working at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development in New York. Congratulations and best wishes!
Farewell, Fall Interns!
The Fall Intern cohort concluded their work at the Mission on December 15. Earlier this month, interns and Mission staff celebrated a successful internship cycle with an ice skating outing in Central Park (below).
The Mission looks forward to welcoming its Spring 2024 interns during the second week of January. Interested in joining the Mission as an intern? Summer 2024 internship applications are due on January 1, 2024; Fall 2024 internship applications will be open through April 2024.
Since 2015, the Holy See Mission has had 162 interns from 37 countries.
The internship program provides the opportunity for bright, Catholic, English-speaking college graduates or graduate students to gain experience assisting the Holy See in its multilateral work at the UN, seeking to bring the light of Catholic Social Teaching to the debates of the international community.
Our interns are integral to the work of the Holy See at the United Nations. They attend various UN meetings, conferences, and debates, and then prepare reports that, once reviewed, are sent to the Holy See’s central offices in the Vatican. Our interns also assist with the Mission’s conferences, receptions, and cultural events.
There are three internship cycles each year: Fall, Spring, and Summer, and eight internship positions are available per cycle. The Mission is currently accepting applications for the Summer 2024 session, which will run from May through August 2024.