Pontiff Says Region of Sarajevo Can Become Symbol of Unity

Encourages ‘Learning the Lessons of History,’ But Remembering God ‘Gives Us the Present and the Future’


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Pope Francis today recognized the long path of reconciliation yet to walk in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but he said the region can become a «sign of unity» for the world.

The Pope said this at an interreligious and ecumenical event today during his one-day trip to Sarajevo.

After addresses given by representatives of the Muslim, Jewish and Orthodox community, Pope Francis spoke about the progress already made in fraternity and dialogue.

But he acknowledged, «We are all aware that there is a long way yet to go. Let us not be discouraged, however, by the difficulties, but rather continue with perseverance along the way of forgiveness and reconciliation.»

«While we seek to recall the past with honesty, thereby learning the lessons of history, we must also avoid lamentation and recrimination, letting ourselves instead be purified by God who gives us the present and the future: he is our future, he is the ultimate source of peace,» the Holy Father said.

The Bishop of Rome spoke of Sarajevo as a Jerusalem, saying the city «in the recent past sadly became a symbol of war and destruction,» but that «today, with its variety of peoples, cultures and religions, can become again a sign of unity, a place in which diversity does not represent a threat but rather a resource, an opportunity to grow together.»

«In a world unfortunately rent by conflicts,» he said, «this land can become a message: attesting that it is possible to live together side by side, in diversity but rooted in a common humanity, building together a future of peace and brotherhood.»

On ZENIT’s Web page:

Full text: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/pope-s-address-to-interreligious-and-ecumenical-gathering-in-sarajevo

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Kathleen Naab

United States

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