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Pope Francis laments ‘erosion of multilateralism’ in UN speech

"[The coronavirus pandemic has] shown us that we cannot live without one another, or worse still, pitted against one another," Pope Francis told the United Nations on Friday.

“[The coronavirus pandemic has] shown us that we cannot live without one another, or worse still, pitted against one another,” Pope Francis told the United Nations on Friday.

“We need to break with the present climate of distrust. At present, we are witnessing an erosion of multilateralism,” he said in a pre-recorded video for the United Nations General Assembly.

“We must ask ourselves if the principal threats to peace and security – poverty, epidemics, terrorism and so many others – can effectively be countered when the arms race, including nuclear weapons, continues to squander precious resources that could better be used to benefit the integral development of peoples and protect the natural environment,” Francis charged.

The leader of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics urged the permanent members of the UN Security Council to “act with greater unity and determination” to make the UN “an ever more effective international workshop for peace.”

Francis said the world faces “a choice between two possible paths.”

The first leads “to the consolidation of multilateralism,” while the second “emphasizes self-sufficiency, nationalism, protectionism, individualism and isolation.”

The second path, he stressed, “must not prevail.”

In the seven years of his papacy, Francis has emerged as a vocal campaigner against poverty, climate change, the rejection of migrants and refugees, and unregulated capitalism.

He was expected to expand on his world views in an upcoming encyclical, an official teaching document, called “Fratelli tutti” (All Brothers) due to be released on October 4.

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