Pope Francis says "in a world discouraged by violence and war, Christians do like Jesus. Almost insistent, he repeated...Peace, peace to you!" FULL TEXT

Hall of Blessing
Saturday, February 25, 2023
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen!
I am pleased to meet you for the inauguration of the 94th judicial year of the Tribunal of Vatican City State and I address a cordial greeting to all of you.
I thank the Minister of Justice Carlo Nordio and the Undersecretary to the Prime Minister Alfredo Mantovano for their presence.
I greet the President of the Court, Giuseppe Pignatone, and the Promoter of Justice, Alessandro Diddi, together with the Magistrates of their respective offices. I thank you for the generous and competent commitment you have placed in the administration of justice, which has proved to be particularly onerous over the past year. For this, I also thank your collaborators and the personnel of the Gendarmerie Corps, who are always available to provide the support necessary for the exercise of your delicate responsibilities.
I welcome the presence of various representatives of the highest judicial bodies of the Italian state, whom I greet and thank, hoping that this occasion will help the knowledge and dialogue between people involved in the world of institutions and in particular of justice.
The time that has passed since our last meeting has unfortunately been marked by serious and unforeseen events, which have caused deep lacerations.
After the terrible ordeal of the pandemic, with its heavy aftermath of mourning and crises, we hoped for a speedy recovery, fueled and supported by a widespread spirit of solidarity. We have hoped and worked so that selfishness and the thirst for profit would be put aside to try to restart together, at national and supranational level, demonstrating a sense of responsibility and the ability to collaborate.
Thanks be to God, in many parts of the planet and in many initiatives this hope and wish have found concrete realization, with the side by side commitment of believers and non-believers.
Unfortunately, just as we were trying to make progress on this path of gradual recovery, the outbreak of the conflict in Ukraine and its tragic evolution plunged the whole world back into a deep crisis, aggravated by the multiple outbreaks of war that continue to flare up in other nations. In fact, there are wars that sometimes touch us more closely, but the reality is that there are many conflicts in the world, and they are a sort of self-destruction (cf. Press conference on the return flight from South Sudan, 5 February 2023).
Faced with these scenarios, the yearning for peace and justice grows in us. The need to bear witness to help build peace and justice is strengthened in our conscience, to the point of becoming imperative.
As I recalled on my recent trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo, "in a world discouraged by violence and war, Christians do like Jesus. Almost insistent, he repeated to his disciples: Peace, peace to you! (cf. Jn 20:19.21); and we are called to make our own and tell the world this unexpected and prophetic announcement of the Lord, announcement of peace. [...] Yes, Christians, sent by Christ, are called by definition to be aware of the peace of the world" (Homily of the Mass in Kinshasa, February 1, 2023).
Every commitment to peace implies and requires a commitment to justice. Peace without justice is not true peace, it has no solid foundations or possibilities for a future. And justice is not an abstraction or a utopia. In the Bible, it is the honest and faithful fulfillment of every duty to God, it is doing his will. It is not only the result of a set of rules to be applied with technical expertise, but it is the virtue by which we give everyone what they are entitled to, indispensable for the correct functioning of every area of common life and for everyone to lead a peaceful life. A virtue to be cultivated through the commitment of personal conversion and to be exercised together with the other cardinal virtues of prudence, fortitude and temperance [1].
This virtue is entrusted in an eminent way to the responsibility of those involved in the judicial sphere, to allow the re-establishment of the violated peace between the various subjects of the community who are in conflict with each other and within the community.
The Tribunals of the Vatican City State operate in this perspective, playing a precious role for the benefit of the Holy See when it comes to settling disputes of a civil or criminal nature. These are disputes which, by their nature, go beyond the jurisdiction of the Tribunals of the Holy See and of the canonical tribunals and must be judged on the basis of a complex interweaving of canonical and civil sources, such as that envisaged by the Vatican legal system, whose application requires specific skills.
In recent years, these legal disputes and the related processes have increased, as has also increased, in many cases, the seriousness of the conduct that comes to light, above all in the context of asset and financial management. Here we must be clear and avoid the risk of "confusing the finger with the moon": the problem is not the processes, but the facts and behaviors that determine them and make them painfully necessary. In fact, such behaviors on the part of members of the Church seriously harm its effectiveness in reflecting the divine light. Thanks be to God, however, "neither the profound desire for this light nor the willingness of the Church to welcome and share it are lacking" [2], because Christ's disciples are "called to be the 'light of the world' ( Mt 5:14). This is the way in which the Church reflects the saving love of Christ who is the Light of the world (cf. Jn 8:12)» [3].

Dear brothers and sisters, the Church "fulfills her mandate above all when she bears witness, in word and deed, to the mercy that she herself has freely received"[4]. “How beautiful is this reality of faith for our life: the mercy of God! God's love for us is so great, so profound, a love that never fails, always grabs our hand and supports us, raises us up, guides us» [5]. A love that is close, merciful and tender.

With this attitude of mercy and closeness we are called to look at our brothers and sisters, especially when they are in difficulty, when they make mistakes, when they are subjected to the test of judgement. A test that is sometimes necessary when it comes to ascertaining conduct that obscures the face of the Church and causes scandal in the community of the faithful. To this end, the exercise of rigorous discernment is helpful, which "prevents the development of a cold desk morality in dealing with the most delicate issues" [6]; as well as the prudent recourse to the canon of equity, which can favor the search for the necessary balance between justice and mercy. Mercy and justice are not alternatives but walk together, they proceed in balance towards the same end, because mercy is not the suspension of justice, but its fulfillment (see Rom 13:8-10).

Dear Magistrates, the path of justice makes possible a fraternity in which all are protected, especially the weakest. I wish all of you to work always keeping alive this awareness and tension towards the truth. I bless you and assure you of my prayers. You too, please don't forget to pray for me. Thank you.

[1]  Discorso ai rappresentanti dell’Associazione Nazionale Magistrati, 9 febbraio 2019.

[2] Cost. Ap. In Ecclesiarum communione (6 gennaio 2023), 4.

[3] Cost. Ap. Praedicate Evangelium (19 marzo 2022), 2.

[4]  Ibid., 1.

[5]  Omelia per l’insediamento sulla “Cathedra romana”, 7 aprile 2013.

[6] Esort. Ap. postsin. Amoris laetitia, 312.