In his message for the 70th anniversary of the International Catholic Center for Cooperation with UNESCO (ICCC), founded in 1947, Pope Francis encourages to reject fear, violence and closure and to choose “brotherhood.”
For this occasion, the ICCC organized on Thursday, March 23, 2017, an international Forum, entitled “What World Do We Want to Build Together?” at UNESCO’s House in Paris, France, in collaboration with the Holy See’s Permanent Observation Mission at UNESCO and under the patronage of UNESCO and the French National Commission for UNESCO.
Monsignor Francesco Follo, the Holy See’s Permanent Observer at UNESCO, read the Pontiff’s message.
In this message, addressed by the Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin to Christine Roche, President of the ICCC, Pope Francis greets the participants and UNESCO’s action for the “renewal of humanity.”
His Holiness Pope Francis greeted warmly all the participants of the well-informed forum “What World Do We Want to Build Today?” organized by UNESCO, which this year is celebrating its 70th anniversary.
The Holy Father, in his message, wished to congratulate and thank the ICCC, which for 70 years has offered, in fidelity to the great Christian tradition, a great contribution to the works of UNESCO, to defend the dignity of the person, peace in the world, and thus foster the renewal of humanity.”
The Pope also encourages to reject fear, violence and closure and to choose “brotherhood.” “The theme you have reserved for this Forum joins one of the Pope’s concerns As he wrote in his Message for the World Day of Peace of January 1, 2017, “an ethic of fraternity and peaceful coexistence between persons and between peoples cannot be founded on the logic of fear, of violence and of closure, but on responsibility, on respect and on sincere dialogue” (n. 5).
Pope Francis encourages an initiative that contributes to the building of a “civilization of love”: “Therefore, the Pope rejoices over the organization of this Forum, whose objective is to foster a reflection on the universal values of freedom, justice and peace. So he encourages all the participants of this Forum to research and develop effective means to “build a civilization of love,” which is the fruit of an effective awareness of a universal community founded on respect, listening, attention to the needs of each one, justice, dialogue and sharing.”
“On entrusting your reflection to the Lord, who came to gather humanity in one unique family, the Holy Father calls upon you as well as upon all the participants in this Forum the Lord’s blessing,” concludes the message signed by Cardinal Parolin.
Christine Roche opened the day, and was followed by Monsignor Guy Real Thivierge, Honorary President of the ICCC who recalled the history of the ICCC that, since its creation in 1947, has intervened actively within UNESCO. He also mentioned Pope Paul VI’s message to Mr Rene Maheu, Director General of UNESCO at the time: at the center of this address was the human person.
Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, quoted several times Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Populorum Progressio,w hich is always “timely.” He focused his address on the two words of the title “world” and “build,” addressing the questions of illiteracy and education.