Pope's Address to Junior High School Students from Japan

Here is the translation of Pope Francis address to a group of students and professors from Seibu Gakuen Bunri Junior High School in Saitama, Tokyo (Japan)

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Good Morning.

I can see that you understand Italian.

I greet you. This visit gives me pleasure. I hope this journey for you will be very fruitful, because to meet other people, other cultures is always good for us, it helps us grow. And, why? Because if we are isolated in ourselves we only have what we have, we cannot grow culturally; instead, if we go in search of other people, other cultures, other ways of thinking, other religious, we come out of ourselves and begin that beautiful adventure that is called “dialogue”.

Dialogue is very important for one’s maturity, because in relation with other people, relations with other culture, also in healthy relations with other religions, one grows; grows, matures.

Of course, there is a danger: if in dialogue one closes themselves and gets angry, or fight; it is the danger of fighting, and this is not good because we dialogue to find ourselves, not to fight.

And what is the most profound attitude that we should have in order to dialogue and not fight? Meekness, the ability to find people, to find culture, with peace; the ability to make intelligent questions: “Why do you think this way?” “Why does this culture does that?” To listen to others and then talk. First listen, then talk. All of this is meekness. And if you do not think like me – well, you know…I think in a different way, you do not convince me – but we are still friends, I have listened to how you think and you have listened to how I think.

And do you know what, one important thing? This dialogue is what makes peace. You cannot have peace without dialogue. All wars, all struggles, all problems that are not resolved, with which we face, are due to a lack of dialogue. When there is a problem, dialogue: this makes peace. And this is what I wish for you in this journey of dialogue: that you may know how to dialogue; how this culture thinks; “how beautiful this is”, “this i don’t like”, but in dialogue. And thus it will grow. I wish you this and I wish you all a good trip in Rome.

I wish all the best for you, for your school, for your families. God bless you all. Thank you.

A young girl addressed the Pope on behalf of the group:

We are happy to have had the possibility to meet you and listen to your words; from now on we will put into practice in our lives that which we have heard from you. We would also like to thank you for allowing us a bit of your precious time.

[Translation by Junno Arocho Esteves]
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