'I Look at Italy With Hope,' Says Pope Francis

Holy Father’s Official Visit to the President of the Italian Republic Sergio Mattarella

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Pope Francis left the Vatican by car, followed by an entourage of several representatives, and went to the Quirinale Palace for an official visit to the President of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella, at 10:45 a.m. on June 10, 2017.
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State; H.E. Monsignor Angelo Becciu, the State Secretariat’s Substitute for General Affairs; Cardinal Agostino Vallini, His Holiness’ Vicar General for the Diocese of Rome; Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, Archbishop of Perugia and President of the Italian Episcopal Conference; Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, President of the Governorate of Vatican City State; H.E. Monsignor Georg Ganswein, Prefect of the Papal Household; Monsignor Leonardo Sapienza, Regent of the Papal Household; H.E. Monsignor Adriano Bernardin, Apostolic Nuncio in Italy and Monsignor Stefano Mazzotti, Adviser of the Nunciature formed part of the papal entourage.
The President of the Republic received the Holy Father on his arrival in the Courtyard of Honor of the Quirinale Palace. After the Military Honors and the playing of the hymns, the Pontiff and the President of the Republic went to the President’s studio, where they held a private conversation.
At the end of the private conversation in the Hall of Tapestries, there was an exchange of gifts, the presentation of the two Official Delegations and, subsequently, a pause in the Annunziata Chapel.
Then, the Holy Father and the President of the Republic went to the Hall of the Cuirassiers, where they delivered their addresses.
Finally, Pope Francis and President Mattarella went to the Quirinale Gardens where they greeted some 200 invited children from the area in Central Italy affected by the earthquake.
Here is a Zenit working translation of the Pope’s address to the President and his off-the-cuff words addressed to the children gathered in the Quirinale Gardens.
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The Holy Father’s Address
Mister President, I thank you for your cordial expressions of welcome you addressed to me in the name of all the Italian people. My visit is inserted in the framework of relations between the Holy See and Italy, and my wish to return your visit to the Vatican on April 18, 2015, shortly after your election to the highest office of the State.
I look at Italy with hope, a hope that is rooted in the grateful memory of parents and grandparents, also mine, because my roots are in this country. A grateful memory of the generations that preceded us and that, with God’s help, carried forward fundamental values: the dignity of the person, the family, work . . . And they put these values also at the center of the Republican Constitution, which offered and offers a stable framework of reference for the democratic life of the people – a hope, therefore, founded on memory, a grateful memory.
However, we live in a time in which Italy and the whole of Europe are called to face problems and risks of various natures, such as international terrorism, which is fueled by fundamentalism, the migratory phenomenon increased by wars and grave and persistent social and economic imbalances in many areas of the world; and the difficulty of young generations to access stable and fitting work, namely, which contributes to the increase of mistrust in the future and does not foster the birth of new families and children.
However, I am delighted to highlight that Italy, through the active generosity of its citizens and the commitment of its institutions, and appealing to its abundant spiritual resources, is doing its utmost to transform these challenges into occasions of growth and new opportunities.
Proof of this, among other things, is the hospitality shown to numerous refugees that land on its coasts, the work of first aid guaranteed by its ships in the Mediterranean and the commitment of arrays of volunteers, distinguished among them ecclesial associations and entities and the parish networks. Proof of this also is Italy’s active commitment in the international realm in favor of peace, of the maintenance of security and of cooperation between States.
I would also like to recall the fortitude animated by faith with which the populations of Central Italy affected by the earthquake lived that dramatic experience, with many examples of profitable collaboration between the ecclesial and civil communities.
The way in which the State and the Italian people are addressing the migratory crisis, together with the effort made to dutifully assist the populations affected by the quake, are expressions of sentiments and attitudes that find their most genuine source in the Christian faith, which has moulded the character of Italians and which shines especially in dramatic moments.
In regard to the vast and complex migratory phenomenon, it is clear that a few Nations cannot take charge entirely, ensuring an ordered integration of the new arrivals in their social fabric. Therefore, it is indispensable and urgent to develop ample and incisive international cooperation.
Among the issues that today challenge those who have the common good at heart and, in particular, public powers, businessmen and workers’ unions, is <the issue of> work. I was able to touch this, not theoretically, but in direct contact with the people, workers and unemployed, in my visits in Italy and also in my very recent visit to Genoa. I reiterate the appeal to generate and accompany processes that give place to new opportunities of fitting work. The juvenile malaise, the pockets of poverty, the difficulty that young people have in forming a family and of bringing children into the world have a common denominator in the insufficiency of the offer of work, at times so precarious or low paid not to make serious planning possible.
An alliance of synergies and initiatives is necessary so that financial resources are put at the service of this broad objective and social value and are not, instead, diverted and dispersed in primarily speculative investments, which denote the lack of a long-term plan, insufficient consideration of the true role of one who does business and, in the last analysis, weakness and instinct of flight in face of the challenges of our time.
Stable work, together with a policy actively committed in favor of the family, first and principal place in which the person-in-relation is formed, are the conditions of genuine sustainable development and of the harmonious growth of society. They are two pillars that give support to our common home and which strengthen it to address the future not with a resigned and timorous but a creative and confident spirit. The new generations have the right to be able to walk towards important goals and within reach of their destiny, so that, driven by noble ideals, they find the strength and courage to carry out in their turn the necessary sacrifices to reach the objective, to build a future worthy of man, in his relations, in work, in the family and in society.
To this end, it is expected of all those who have responsibilities in the political and administrative field to seek to reinforce the bonds between the people and the institutions, so that from this tenacious weaving and concerted effort true democracy is developed, geared to solve questions that, because of their complexity, no one can attempt to solve on his own.
The Church in Italy is a vital reality, strongly united to the spirit of the country, to the feeling of the people. She lives their joys and sorrows and seeks, in keeping with her possibilities, to alleviate their sufferings, to reinforce the social bond, to help all to build the common good. In this too the Church is inspired in the teaching of Vatican Council II’s Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, which calls for collaboration between the ecclesial community and the political community in as much as they are both at the service of the same human persons. A teaching that was consecrated, in the revision of the Concordat of 1984, in the first article of the Agreement, where the commitment of the State and Church is formulated “to mutual collaboration for the promotion of man and the good of the country.”
This commitment, which recalls the principle of distinction established in Article 7 of the Constitution, expresses and has promoted at the same time a peculiar form of laicism, not hostile and conflictive, but friendly and collaborative, though in the rigorous distinction of the competencies proper to the political institutions on one hand and the religious on the other. A laicism that my predecessor Benedict XVI described as “positive.” And one cannot but observe how, thanks to it, the state of relations in collaboration between Church and State in Italy is excellent, with advantage for individuals and the entire national community.
Italy, then, has the singular burden and honor to have in its ambit, the headquarters of the universal government of the Catholic Church. It is evident that, despite the guarantees offered in the 1929 Treaty, the mission of the Successor of Peter would not be facilitated without the cordial and generous willingness and collaboration of the Italian State. A further demonstration of this was had in the course of the recent Extraordinary Jubilee, which saw so many faithful come to Rome, to the tombs of the Apostles Peter and Paul, in the spirit of reconciliation and of mercy. Notwithstanding the insecurity of the times we are living, the Jubilee celebrations were able to unfold in a tranquil way and with great spiritual advantage. The Holy See is fully aware and deeply grateful for the great commitment ensured by Italy in this regard.
Mister President, I am certain that, if Italy is able to make use of all its spiritual and material resources in a spirit of collaboration between the different civil components, it will find the right way for an orderly development and to govern in the most appropriate way the phenomena and problems that are facing it.
The Holy See, the Catholic Church and her institutions assure, in the distinction of their roles and responsibilities, their active cooperation in view of the common good. In the Catholic Church and in the principles of Christianity, of which its rich and age-old history is moulded, Italy will always find the best ally for the growth of the society, for its concord and for its true progress.
May God bless and protect Italy!
[Original text: Italian] [Translation by Virginia M. Forrester]  
The Pope’s Off-the-Cuff Words to the Children in the Quirinale Gardens
 Dear boys and girls, thank you so much for being here. Thank you so much for your singing and for your courage. Go on with courage, always up, always up! It is an art to go up always. It is true that there are difficulties in life – you suffered so much with this earthquake – they fell, but that lovely song comes to mind that Alpine troops sing: “In the art of climbing success does not lie in not falling but in not staying fallen.” Always up, always that word “rise” and up! May the Lord bless you!
[Original text: Italian] [Translation by Virginia M. Forrester]  

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