OPENING OF THE "ANIMA MUNDI" ETHNOLOGICAL MUSEUM
AND OF THE EXHIBITION ON THE AMAZONIA IN THE VATICAN MUSEUMS
SPEECH OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
Friday, 18 October 2019
I cordially greet all of you and I thank Cardinal Bertello for his words.
I like to think that what we are inaugurating today is not simply a museum, in its traditional conception. In fact, I found the name chosen for this collection to be appropriate, so evocative: Anima mundi. The soul of the world. I think the Vatican Museums are increasingly called to become a living "home", inhabited and open to everyone, with the doors wide open to the peoples of the whole world. Vatican Museums open to all, without closure. A place where everyone can feel represented; where to perceive concretely that the Church's gaze knows no foreclosures.
Whoever enters here should feel that in this house there is also room for him, for his people, his tradition, his culture: the European as the Indian, the Chinese as the native of the Amazon or Congolese forest, of the 'Alaska or the Australian deserts or the Pacific islands. All peoples are here, in the shadow of the dome of St. Peter, close to the heart of the Church and of the Pope. And this is because art is not an uprooted thing: art is born from the heart of peoples. It is a message: from the hearts of peoples to the hearts of peoples.
Here he will also have to feel that "his" art has the same value and is cared for and preserved with the same passion that is reserved for Renaissance masterpieces or the immortal Greek and Roman sculptures, which attract millions of people every year. Here you will find a special space: the space of dialogue, of opening to the other, of the meeting.
I appreciate that the set up, and for which I thank all those who have worked there - curators, architects, engineers and workers, all! -, both in the sign of transparency. Transparency is an important value, especially in an ecclesial institution. We always need it! Over the years, thousands of works from all over the world will be displayed in these shop windows, and this type of installation intends to put them almost in dialogue with each other. And since works of art are the expression of the spirit of peoples, the message we receive is that we must always look at each culture, at the other, with an open mind and with benevolence.
Beauty unites us. It invites us to live human brotherhood, countering the culture of resentment, racism, nationalism, which is always lurking. These are selective cultures, cultures of closed numbers.
A few months ago, some Chinese art works started from this museum in Beijing. And before others had reached some Islamic countries ... How many good initiatives can be done thanks to art, managing to overcome even the barriers and the distances.
Today I would like to thank those who take care of these precious works every day: the Curator of the Anima Mundi Museum, Father Nicola Mapelli, who is a PIME missionary - and this is very consistent! -; the restorers of the Polymateric Laboratory, and all those who collaborate in this work. Thank you all!
And thank you also for wanting to inaugurate this new staging with a special exhibition dedicated to the Amazon, in the days when we are experiencing the Synod dedicated to this region. And for this I also thank the Missionaries of the Consolata, the Salesians, the Capuchins, the Saverians: different charisms that met in the name of the Amazon.
May this Ethnological Museum preserve its specific identity over time and remind everyone of the value of harmony and peace between peoples and nations. And may the art gathered here make the voice of God resound in those who visit this collection. Thank you very much.
Full Text + Image Source: Vatican.va - Unofficial Translation