“In defending the weak and the law, you will find the truest sense of your service and you will be an example for the country, which needs people to serve with impartiality, generosity and continuity.”
Pope Francis addressed these words to the Italian Police and families of officers killed in the line of duty today at the Vatican.
The Holy Father began his address by welcoming the families of fallen and wounded police officers, thanking them “for their witness of Christian hope.”
“Every honest occupation contributes to the good of all and, if carried out with dedication and passion, fosters the growth of the person and of society, while also providing the necessary means for a free and dignified existence,” he said.
Regarding the duties of the police officers, the Pope noted that theirs is “an authentic mission” that carries with it a sense of duty and discipline, and even sacrificing their lives in the fight against organized crime and terrorism.
“Your mission requires the courage to rescue those in danger and to stop the aggressor,” he said. “The community is indebted to you for the opportunity to lead an orderly life and free from the oppression of the violent and corrupt.”
The 78 year old Pontiff, addressing in particular those who suffered the loss of a loved one in the line of duty, comforted them saying that every sacrifice for the sake of the common good is rewarded by God. Those who serve with this dedication “walks on the path of Our Lord, who came to serve and not to be served.”
On the Front Lines
Continuing his address, Pope Francis said that only through contemplating Christ Crucified can one be given the comfort and the strength to forgive in difficult times. The witness of Christian values within the police force, he continued, is crucial in this time in the world, where such values are not often followed through.
The Pope also highlighted the police officers who work tirelessly in rescuing refugees escaping violence in their homelands. “You are on the ‘front lines’, whether it is in welcoming migrants, or in the work of countering unscrupulous traffickers.
“In this work,” he said, “you set yourself apart for a spirit of service and humanity, feeling motivated, even before the regulations and provisions of the law, by the moral imperative to do good, to save as many people as possible and to not spare in giving your time and energy to such a commitment,” he said.
Concluding his address, Pope Francis encouraged the officers and the families present, calling on them to be proud of their work and to continue to serve every citizen and those in danger.
“In defending the weak and the law, you will find the true meaning of your service and you will be an example for the country, who are in need of people who serve them with impartiality, generosity and continuity,” he said.
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On ZENIT’s website:
For the full text of the Holy Father’s address, go to: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/pope-s-address-to-families-of-fallen-police-officers-of-italy