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“Have the courage to make proposals of justice and peace in public life”, says Pope Francis

In his speech marking the closing of the 50th Social Week of Catholics in Italy, the Holy Father called on the faithful to have the “courage” to understand themselves as a people, to participate in and develop political education as a common good, and to oppose the "throwaway culture". Speaking from Piazza dell'Unità d'Italia, Francis urged everyone to “pray and work for peace.” To the people of Trieste: "Continue to carry out your commitment on the front line, especially towards those arriving via the Balkan route"

Foto Siciliani-Gennari/SIR

(from Trieste) Pope Francis addressed a “people” of 1,200 delegates who animated the city of Trieste in recent days for the 50th Social Week of Catholics in Italy, with a strong appeal for political participation and education, to heal the “broken heart of democracy.” In his homily at the Holy Mass in Piazza dell’Unità d’Italia, the Holy Father highlighted the need for the “scandal of faith” that is rooted in God who became man, “a human, restless faith that becomes a thorn in the flesh of a society that is so often anaesthetised and numbed by consumerism.”

“From this city we renew our commitment to pray and work for peace: for the tormented Ukraine, for Palestine and Israel, for Sudan, Myanmar and all peoples suffering from war”,

he said during the Angelus prayer: “Let us nourish the dream of a new civilisation based on peace and fraternity; let us not be scandalised by Jesus. On the contrary, let us be indignant at all those situations in which life is degraded, wounded and killed; let us carry the prophecy of the Gospel in our flesh, with our choices before words.” “Continue to be on the front line to spread the Gospel of hope, especially towards those arriving from the Balkan route and towards all those who, in body or spirit, need to be encouraged and comforted”, he said addressing the ecclesial community in Trieste.

“As Catholics, we cannot be content with a marginal or private faith”,

was the exhortation at the heart of the speech delivered in the Congress Centre: “This means not only demanding to be heard, but above all

having the courage to make public proposals for justice and peace”.

We have something to say, but not to defend privilege”, Francis made clear: “We must be a voice that denounces and proposes in a society that is often voiceless, in which too many have no voice. So many have no voice, so many! This is political love, which is not content with treating the consequences, but seeks to address the causes. It is a form of charity that enables politics to face up to its responsibilities and overcome the polarisations that lead to immiseration and are not helpful in understanding and addressing the challenges”. “The whole Christian community is called to put this political charity into practice, distinguishing between ministries and charisms,” the Pope said:

“Let us be formed in this love to spread it in a world that lacks civil passion. We must recover the civil passion of the great politicians we have known! Let us learn more and better to walk together as people of God, to be a leaven of participation among the people to whom we belong”.

“Get to know the people, get closer to them”. For Bergoglio, “this is the secret of good politics”. He went on to explain: “The politician must be like a shepherd: in front, in the middle, behind the people”. Drawing on the words of Giorgio La Pira, Francis called on the Catholic laity to “organise hope” with “projects of good politics that can be born at the grassroots level”.

“Why not revive, support and multiply efforts for social and political formation starting with the young?” Francis asked: “Why not share the richness of the Church’s social teaching?” “We can imagine forums for debate and dialogue and promote synergies for the common good,” the concrete proposal:

“While the synodal process has prepared us for communal discernment, the horizon of the Jubilee should see us committed, pilgrims of hope, to the Italy of tomorrow. Time is greater than space, and it is wiser to initiate processes than to occupy empty spaces.

This is the role of the Church: To be committed to hope, because without it, one manages the present but does not build the future.

The Pope then went on to quote a poet from the city of Trieste, Umberto Saba, to explain that “God is to be found in the darkest corners of life and of our cities. His presence is revealed in those faces hollowed out by suffering, where degradation seems to triumph”.

“Democracy always requires the passage from partisanship to participation, from rooting to dialogue,

the Pope’s recommendation. Responsibility for social transformation “is a challenge for all Christians”, because “a State is not truly democratic if it is not at the service of humanity”, while the throwaway culture “creates a city in which there is no place for the poor, the unborn, the weak, the sick, children, women, young people. Power becomes self-referential, incapable of listening to and serving people”. Hence the topicality and urgency of the keyword of the Social Week in Trieste: participation, which, according to Bergoglio, “does not only correspond to the vote of the population, but requires the creation of conditions for the expression and participation of all”. Moreover,

“Participation is not something that can be improvised: it is something that is learned as a child, as a young person, and it must be cultivated, also with a critical spirit in the face of ideological and populist temptations.”

In social life, “the heart needs to be healed”, and for democracy to be such, it too needs to have a “healed heart”, the Pope said, with an encouragement to participate by exercising creativity in the economic, technological, political and social spheres, and to integrate migrants. Democracy means having the courage to “understand oneself as a people”. A “democracy with a healed heart continues to cultivate dreams for the future, it challenges itself, it calls for personal and communal commitment,” Francis said, urging once again to “dream of the future,” “not to be afraid,” not to be deceived by “easy solutions” and “seductive ideologies.” “Let us instead be passionate for the common good”.

Altri articoli in 50ª Settimana Sociale

50ª Settimana Sociale