Francis near ” “the giants of peace” “

A line of continuity between John XXIII, John Paul II and the present Pope

“He will act with words, intervening each time that life is threatened”, said the Vatican Secretary of State, “without caring about the risk that his words may be used instrumentally, highlighting the causes of violence and war”. Cardinal Pietro Parolin speaks of Pope Francis, of his commitment for peace, reiterated in his Urbi et Orbi message on Easter. “He will do so – he continued – bearing witness to the love for peace also with his presence, perhaps improvised, in the places of the conflicts”. Indeed, the Pope has accustomed us to surprises, in the name of coherence with the Word of the Gospel. “Pope Francis – continues the Secretary of State – will follow his sensitivity and will find also in this area the most effective and perhaps even surprising ways to make his presence and his commitment for peace be heard”. Cardinal Parolin speaks of Francis, of his actions that has led him to play a key role, overcoming uncertainties and contradictions of the chancelleries on which he acted with the ancient, constantly renewed and effective force of prayer, which “in fact, has struck even the powerful on earth as well as non-believers”. Speaking of Francis, of today and of the near future, the Cardinal traced a precise line of continuity with the two great Popes Saints, John XXIII and John Paul II, and more in general with the action of the Holy See in the tormented and dramatic twentieth century. Indeed, each with his own style, in the framework of different historical situations, both John XXIII and John Paul II – whose canonization will take place Sunday April 27 – have been two giants of peace. They have interpreted in two phases of the Cold War in particular, two different yet converging paths. That of John XXIII has focused on testimony, with the harmless force of words, persuasion, with the Magisterium of the appeal to dialogue, to the extent of preventing the Cold War from escalating in a cruel way. The path of John Paul II has been more “athletic”, with the historical outcome of the peaceful end of a conflict, the Cold War, and the end of Communist repression that had been ongoing for almost fifty years. Moreover, being a pilgrim in the world – taking up the torch of another great Pope of the past century, Paul VI, the first pilgrim in Jerusalem – has become a concrete sign of closeness with all nations, for peace, for the affirmation of what he called the “subjectivity” of peoples and nations in a great human family. With his own ways, “through direct and ‘popular’ language that until now has been so successful”, is reaffirmed the continuity that Francis sends across the complex horizons of a globalized world marked by new threats to peace, human trafficking, exploitation, serious social and economic injustices. And thus “the Church does not act to defend her own rights or to invoke privileges for herself but to protect the rights of every man and woman”.

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