Pope Francis explains "...we are experiencing World War III in pieces" while promoting Social Friendship to Conference on Pastoral Care



[Buenos Aires, 3-5 December 2020]

I wish to make myself present today on this XXIII Day of Social Pastoral. How many have we done! How much it is! I remember some I attended, and some I didn't.

"Towards a culture of encounter, a country for everyone". And the subtitle is: "Fraternity and social friendship".

The theme of social friendship is a theme that worries me, because for sin, for tendencies, we always go towards enmity, war. And we forget that our vocation is that of harmony, of fraternity, it is to be brothers. Social friendship.

Let's see how the world goes. Wars everywhere, we are experiencing World War III in pieces. And this is not social friendship. We look at many countries where we don't know how to dialogue, we shout. Before the other person finishes saying their thoughts, we are already responding to them, without having listened.

There can be no social friendship without listening, without listening to the other. And to listen to the other there must be in my heart the conviction that the other has something good to say to me.

Social friendship. There are probably two big enemies of social friendship.

The first is the ideologies that rule everything. They tend to command, and ideologies manage to disarm the concreteness of human nature.

The second enemy is the passions. Passion often tries to eliminate the other. And don't let the other take his place.

Ideologies and passions all over the world go against social friendship. It is true that there are good nuclei of social friendship in the world, but it is also true that there is a lot, a lot, of social enmity.

I mentioned wars, but let's look at certain suburbs. We look at children without school, people who are hungry, people who have no health care, the immense amount of people who have no running water, people who do not have access to the minimum to live in dignity.

These are the signs that social friendship does not exist in the world today.

And it does us good to ask ourselves about what surrounds us, the places close to where we live, where we work. Is there social friendship?

If there is social friendship there must be no wars or needs of any kind, and no education that doesn't work well. It must be full. From the effects we realize if there is social friendship. But let's not forget the two great enemies: the ideologies that want to take possession of the lived experience of a people, and the passions, which are always like a steamroller, which go on and destroy instead of talking.

Dear brothers and sisters who are working on this 23rd day of social pastoral care, I wish you the best. Put the best of yourself but it is concrete. Do not reflect in the abstract, reflect with your feet on the ground, with concrete data.

God bless you. And if you have a moment, pray for me because I need it. See you later.

from L'Osservatore Romano , Year CLX, num. 281, 4/12/2020