Pope to Italy's Prefects: Remember You are Dealing With Concrete Fears, Hopes, Not Abstract Questions

Also Praises Government Representatives’ Welcoming of Migrants

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Pope Francis has reminded Italian government representatives that following the law and ensuring human rights must be their top priorities.

Speaking to the prefects of several Italian cities today in the Vatican, the Holy Father urged them to “exercise your professionalism and your humanity,” and warned that this requires a delicate balance.

Since the Church, as a divine and human reality, works in society at the service of persons and desires to carry out its educational and charitable mission, collaboration with government institutions is especially important, Francis explained.

With the right ‘synergy,’ The Holy Father stressed, the Church and government can promote the best interest of the country and all its citizens.

Given this, the Holy Father exhorted them to use their knowledge and prudence for the common good, and warned them against giving in to discouragement or pessimism.

“You are not faced with abstract questions,” Francis told the prefects, “but with the concrete faces of men and women with their problems and their hopes, which in these years of uncertainty and economic difficulties have become even more impelling.”

Their efforts to welcome migrants, he noted, was a good example of them dutifully performing their roles and achieving the needed balance.

The prefects’ sense of duty and awareness of the importance of their roles, the Pontiff said, will help them to address future commitments in the best way, “with dedication and a spirit of sacrifice.”

“The more the citizens perceive that the constituted powers are generally bent on trying to offer answers to their needs and to protect their rights,” Francis said, “the more they will be disposed to accept indications and to dispose themselves to an active and ordered spirit of collaboration and respect.”

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On ZENIT’s Web page:

Full translation: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/pope-s-address-to-prefects-of-several-italian-cities

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Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': http://www.gracewing.co.uk/page219.html or https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

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