It Takes Courage to See Friends, Not Foes, Pope Says to Rimini Meeting

Message praises this year’s theme, encourages dialogue in Christian spirit

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In a papal message to the annual “Rimini Meeting,” Pope Francis praised the theme of this year as “courageous.” The theme is “You Are a Good for Me,” and the papal message said that to affirm this takes courage when “so many aspects of the reality that surrounds us seem to lead in the opposite sense.”
The Meeting for Friendship Among Peoples, sponsored by the Catholic Communion and Liberation Movement in Rimini, Italy, draws hundreds of thousands of participants every year.
The Pope’s secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, conveyed the Holy Father’s greetings to the meeting.
Speaking of the theme, the cardinal noted: “Too often one yields to the temptation to close oneself in the restricted horizon of one’s own interests, so that others become something superfluous, or worst still, an annoyance, an obstacle.
“But this is not in keeping with our nature: As children we discover the beauty of the bond between human beings; we learn to encounter the other, recognizing and respecting him as interlocutor and as brother, because he is a child of our common Father who is in Heaven.
“Individualism, instead, distances people; it picks up especially their limitations and defects, weakening the desire and the capacity of a coexistence in which each one can be free and happy in the company of others, with the richness of their diversity.”


The papal message said that it is “existential insecurity” that causes us to fear others, treating them automatically as antagonists.
“Following the example of the Lord Jesus, a Christian cultivates always an open thought towards the other, whoever he is, because he does not consider any person as lost definitively,” the message added.
The cardinal spoke of Christ’s example as taught by the Prodigal Son, Zacchaeus, the good thief, and even Judas.
“There is a word that we must never tire of repeating and especially of witnessing: dialogue,” the message said. “We will discover that to open to others does not impoverish our gaze but makes us richer because it makes us recognize the truth of the other, the importance of his experience and the background of what he says, even when he hides behind attitudes and choices that we do not share.”
The Pope encouraged the participants in the Meeting to be witnesses, the message said, knowing that what attracts others and loosens chains is the “tenacious meekness of the merciful love of the Father, which everyone can draw from the source of grace that God offers in the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist and Penance, to then give it to our neighbor.”
He told the Rimini meeting participants to “continue in the commitment of closeness to others, vying in serving them joyfully.”

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Kathleen Naab

United States

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