Francis concluded his meeting with Brazil’s leaders today, briefly putting into action one of the main messages of his speech: dialogue. After blessing a group of little girls, he blessed and spoke with representatives of one of Brazil’s indigenous groups, briefly donning one of their traditional headdresses.
The Holy Father urged the Brazilian leaders to “face the future … with the calm gaze of one who knows how to see the truth.”
He then highlighted three aspects of that “gaze”: “first, the distinctiveness of your cultural tradition; second, joint responsibility for building the future; and third, constructive dialogue in facing the present moment.”
Regarding Brazil’s cultural tradition, Francis noted that its “vision of man and of life” has been “greatly nourished by the Gospel.”
“To promote an integral humanism and the culture of encounter and relationship: this is the Christian way of promoting the common good, the joy of living. Here, faith and reason unite, the religious dimension and the various aspects of human culture art, science, labour, literature… Christianity combines transcendence and incarnation; it brings ever new vitality to thought and life, in contrast to the dissatisfaction and disillusionment which creep into hearts and spread in the streets,” the Pontiff reflected.
He then called on people to take responsibility for society, saying this requires a “humanistic vision”
“This is the road that we are called to travel: to see that basic needs are met and that human dignity, brotherhood and solidarity are guaranteed on every level,” the Pope said.
Echoing a message he gave from the streets of one of Brazil’s slums, he said that people must maintain hope, even in the midst of failed attempts at promoting justice.
“To act responsibly is to see one’s own actions in the light of other people’s rights and God’s judgement,” he said. “To preserve this ethical sense appears today as an unprecedented historic challenge. Beyond scientific and technical competence, the present situation also demands a sense of moral obligation expressed in a social and deeply fraternal exercise of responsibility.”
Finally, the Bishop of Rome called the Brazilian leaders to dialogue.
“Between selfish indifference and violent protest there is always another possible option: that of dialogue,” he said.
Francis affirmed that the “great religious traditions” make a a basic contribution to this effort, as “a leaven of society and a life-giving force for democracy.”
He said peaceful coexistence between religions is favored by a state which, “without appropriating any one confessional stance, respects and esteems the presence of the religious factor in society, while fostering its concrete expressions.”
“When leaders in various fields ask me for advice, my response is always the same: dialogue, dialogue, dialogue,” Francis said. “It is the only way for individuals, families and societies to grow, the only way for the life of peoples to progress, along with the culture of encounter, a culture in which all have something good to give and all can receive something good in return. Others always have something to give me, if we know how to approach them in a spirit of openness and without prejudice. Only in this way can understanding grow between cultures and religions, mutual esteem without needless preconceptions, respectful of the rights of everyone. Today, either we stand together with the culture of encounter, or we all fall; taking the right road makes the journey fruitful and secure.”
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