“Breakthrough comes about as a gift of dialogue, when people trust each other and humbly seek the good together, and are willing to learn from each another in a mutual exchange of gifts. This is an ‘overflow’ of love, breaking the banks that confined our thinking and causes to pour forth answers that formerly we could not see. As Pope I want to encourage such ‘overflows’ by reinvigorating the ancient practice of ‘Synod’. The term comes from Greek and means ‘walking together’ and its goal is to recognise, honour, and reconcile differences on a higher plane where the best of each can be retained: differences are expressed and polished until you reach, if not consensus, a harmony that holds all together. Therein lies its beauty: the harmony that results can be complex, rich and unexpected. In the Church the One who brings about harmony is the Holy Spirit.”
CALLING US TO PRAYER AND SOCIAL FRIENDSHIP
‘The Bible says that whoever finds a friend has found a treasure. I would like to invite everyone to go beyond their groups of friends and build social friendship, which is so necessary for living together well.
We especially need to have a renewed encounter with the most impoverished and vulnerable, those on the peripheries. And we need to distance ourselves from populisms that exploit the anguish of the people without providing solutions, proposing a mystique that solves nothing.
We must flee from social enmity which only destroys, and leave “polarization” behind.
And this isn’t always easy, especially today when part of our politics, society and media are bent on creating enemies so as to defeat them in a game of power.
Dialogue is the path to seeing reality in a new way, so we can live with passion the challenges we face in constructing the common good.
Let us pray that, in social, economic, and political situations of conflict, we may be courageous and passionate architects of dialogue and friendship, men and women who always hold out a helping hand, and may no spaces of enmity and war remain.’
ON HEALING THE PLANET
‘Laudato si, o’ mi Signore’ (Praise be to you, my Lord). In the words of this beautiful canticle, St Francis of Assisi reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us : ‘Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruits with coloured flowers and herbs’.
This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of all with which God has endowed her. We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will. This is why the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor; she ‘groans in travail’
ON NUCLER WEAPONS
Pope Francis has stated : ‘Now is the time to affirm not only the immorality of the use of nuclear weapons, but the immorality of their possession… genuinely concerned by the catastrophic humanitarian effects of any employment of nuclear devices and the risk of accidental detonation as a result of any kind of error, the threat of their use, as well as their very possession, is to be firmly condemned. They exist in the service of a mentality of fear.’