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'Social Coexistence Is Accomplished with Dialogue,' Says Pope Francis

The Pontiff Reminds Students That War Begins in Our Heart, When We Are Unable to Dialogue With Our Neighbor

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“Wars begin in our heart,” said Pope Francis, answering off-the-cuff the question of a student of the University Roma Tre, and confirming a concept that he used just yesterday in the morning homily of the Mass at his residence Casa Santa Marta.
The Pope’s appeal is to each one of us, so that, moderating our tone and opting for the way of dialogue, we contribute to peace.
“Today, there is talk on the street, at home, one shouts, one also insults with normality; there is also violence in expressing oneself, in speaking. This is a reality we all witness,” affirmed Pope Francis.
What Bergoglio perceives is “an air of violence also in our cities.” He attributes this atmosphere also to frenzy. “The speed of life – its reflection – makes us violent at home and we often forget to say good morning, ‘hello hello, and so on, anonymous greetings.”
See then how violence “ever more anonymous,” even taking away our “name” from us and making it so that our relations are “without a name,” pushes us to greet a person as if he were “a thing.”
If one lets this atmosphere grow, it “becomes global violence,” warns the Pontiff. “No one can deny that we are at war today,” he continued. “And this is a third world war, in pieces, but it exists.” Therefore, he invited to lower our tone somewhat and to “talk less and listen more.”
“There are so many medicines against violence, but first of all the heart, the heart that is able to receive what the other thinks,” he observed. Hence the reference to dialogue that “brings closer, not only brings people closer, it brings hearts closer friendship is accomplished with dialogue, and social friendship is accomplished,” he affirmed.
Francis did not spare a reference to politics, which in his opinion “has lowered itself so much.” In this connection, he added: “When there are electoral campaigns, debates on TV, before the other finishes speaking, there is already an answer: but wait, listen well, then think and answer!” He advises that one “listen well” and “if I don’t understand what you say, ask: ‘what do you mean? I didn’t understand well.’”
Recalling that “social coexistence is accomplished with dialogue” and that “to dialogue it is necessary first to listen,” Francis said: “where there isn’t dialogue, there is violence.”
“We are at war,” he then affirmed a second time. “However, wars don’t begin there, they start in the heart, in our heart. When I’m not capable of opening myself to others, of respecting others, of talking with others, of dialoguing with others, war starts there.”
The Bishop of Rome gave the example of issues regarding families, domestic coexistence. “When there isn’t dialogue, when instead of talking one shouts or when we are at table instead of talking, each one has his mobile phone, he is talking, but with another. That is the seed, the beginning of the war, because there isn’t dialogue. And I believe this is the foundation,” he observed.
In this context, he revealed the importance of the university that ”is the place where one can dialogue, where there is a place for all, one who thinks one way, another who thinks another way.” In fact, — in his words – “a University where one only goes to school, listens to the professor and then goes home, isn’t a university.”
The Pope stressed that it is not necessary to limit oneself “to listening to the wisdom of the professors,” because a university must have the art of dialogue.

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Federico Cenci

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