One major appointment for the Holy Father in the month of January was the annual Audience granted to the members of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See for an exchange of New Year good wishes. In his address Pope Benedict XVI, like his Predecessors, reflected on “essential” matters needing attention including “the worsening scandal of hunger is unacceptable in a world which has the resources, the knowledge, and the means available to bring it to an end”. The Pope urges leaders of rich nations “to take the necessary steps to ensure that poor countries, which often have a wealth of natural resources, are able to benefit from the fruits of goods that are rightfully theirs”. The Pope said he hoped «Doha Development Round» of the World Trade Organisation would resume activity to promote and accelerate cancelling international debts of poor countries. Other questions mentioned by the Pope were disarmament, amidst increasing “symptoms of a progressive crisis”, and problems connected with security “must be approached from a global and far-sighted perspective”. Another important issue mentioned by the Pope was migratory phenomenon: “millions of men and women are forced to leave their homes or their native lands because of violence or in order to seek more dignified living conditions. It is an illusion to think that migration can be blocked or checked simply by force. Migration and the problems to which it gives rise must be addressed humanely, with justice and compassion.”. The Holy Father views with concern attacks on human life from conception to natural death and against the natural structure of the family, mounting threats to the natural composition of the family based on the marriage of a man and a woman, and attempts to relativize it by giving it the same status as other radically different forms of union”. Other forms of attack on life are sometimes committed in the name of scientific research. There is a growing conviction that research is subject only to the laws that it chooses for itself and that it is limited only by its own possibilities”.
Another important field of the Holy Father’s Magisterium in January was Ecumenism. The occasion was the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, concluded by Pope Benedict XVI with ecumenical vespers at the tomb of the Apostle Paul: “Do we not perhaps lack the courage to speak out and witness as did those who witnessed the healing of the deaf-mute in the Decapolis? Our world needs this witness; above all, it is waiting for the common testimony of Christians..”