Pope Francis says "Let's not waste this opportunity to improve our world; to decisively adopt more just ways to bring about progress and build peace." FULL TEXT



[11-13 November 2021]

Distinguished Authorities, Distinguished
Ladies and Gentlemen!

To each of you gathered for the 4th Forum de Paris sur la Paix , I address my cordial greeting. I am grateful for this opportunity for meeting and reflection; I hope it will be fruitful and help promote peace, good governance and a better future for all; that helps to better come out of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In this historical phase, the human family is faced with a choice. The first possibility is that of the so-called "return to normality". But the reality we knew before the pandemic was that wealth and economic growth were reserved for a minority while millions of people were unable to meet the most basic needs and lead a dignified life; a world in which our Earth was plundered by a myopic exploitation of resources, by pollution, by "disposable" consumerism (cf. Enc. Laudato si ', 22) and wounded by wars and experiments with weapons of mass destruction. Return to normal would also mean a return to old social structures inspired by "self-sufficiency, nationalism, protectionism, individualism and isolation" and excluding our poorest brothers and sisters. [1] Is this a future we can choose?

In this globalized but torn world, the decisions we take today to get out of the crisis determine the "route" of the generations to come. We often lose sight of the fact that we are a global community and that "no one is saved alone, that we can only be saved together" (Enc. Fratelli tutti , 32). For these reasons, we need a new way out; we must work together to come out better than before. [2]

The first and most urgent issue on which we must turn our attention is that there can be no peace-generating cooperation without a concrete collective commitment in favor of integral disarmament. World military spending has now exceeded the level recorded at the end of the "cold war" and is systematically increasing every year. The ruling classes and governments, in fact, justify this rearmament by referring to an abused idea of ​​deterrence based on the equilibrium of armaments. In this perspective, states are inclined to pursue their interests primarily on the basis of the use or threat of force. This system, however, does not guarantee the construction and maintenance of peace. The idea of ​​deterrence, in fact, in many cases it has been found to be fallacious, leading to major humanitarian tragedies. Former PopeJohn XXIII in the encyclical letter Pacem in terris had affirmed: "The principle of peace which is based on the balance of armaments must be replaced by the principle that true peace can be built only in mutual trust" (n. 61).

It should also be emphasized that the logic of deterrence has been associated with the logic of the liberal market that armaments can be considered on a par with all other manufactured products and therefore, as such, freely marketable worldwide. It is therefore no coincidence that for years we have uncritically witnessed the expansion of the arms market globally.

The pandemic was a revelation to all of us about the limitations and shortcomings of our societies and lifestyles. Yet, right in the midst of this shadowy reality, we need to hope, because hope is "a generator of energy, which stimulates the intelligence and gives the will all its dynamism". [3] Hope invites us to dream big and give space to the imagination of new possibilities. Hope is bold and encourages action based on the knowledge that reality can be changed. [4]My hope is that the Christian tradition, in particular the social doctrine of the Church, as well as other religious traditions, can contribute to assure your meeting the reliable hope that injustice and violence are not inevitable, they are not our destiny.

Faced with the consequences of the great storm that upset the world, our conscience therefore calls us to a responsible hope, that is, concretely, not to follow the easy way of returning to a "normality" marked by injustice, but to accept the challenge of assuming the crisis as "a concrete opportunity for conversion, transformation, to rethink our lifestyle and our economic and social systems". [5] Responsible hope allows us to reject the temptation of easy solutions and gives us the courage to proceed on the path of the common good, of caring for the poor and of the common home.

Let's not waste this opportunity to improve our world; to decisively adopt more just ways to bring about progress and build peace. Animated by this conviction, it is possible to generate economic models that serve the needs of all while preserving the gifts of nature, as well as forward-looking policies that promote the integral development of the human family. [6]

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, let us face this crisis together by seeking to heal in depth the wounds of the human family. May this word that the prophet Jeremiah addressed to the people in times of serious crisis inspire us: "Stop in the streets and look, / inquire about the paths of the past, / where the good road is, follow it, so you will find peace for your life" ( Jer 6.16).

I wish you good work and invoke heavenly blessings for you.

From the Vatican, 30 October 2021




[1] See Video Message on the occasion of the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly , 25 September 2020.

[2] Cf. Catechesis “Healing the world”. 5. Solidarity and the virtue of faith , 2 September 2020.

[3] Benedict XVI, Address to the Authorities , Cotonou - Benin , November 19, 2011.

[4] Cf. Catechesis “Healing the world”. 9. Preparing the future together with Jesus who saves and heals , 30 September 2020.

[5] Video message on the occasion of the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly , 25 September 2020.

[6] Cf. ibid .

FULL TEXT Source: Vatican.va - Image Screenshot