On Sunday, Pope Francis met with participants in a seminar titled “Between the University and the School, A Wall and A Bridge,” promoted by the Sholas Occurrentes Foundation of Papal Right, in collaboration with LUMSA’s High School “Educate to Encounter and to Solidarity” (Rome, May 27-29, 2016).
Here is a ZENIT translation of Pope Francis’ words
Pope Francis introduction:
Thank you for being here. I am happy to greet you and I hope that all this wasn’t to boring for you. I hope that there was that atmosphere of communication, that atmosphere of encounter, that atmosphere of bridge, which unites us and which is a challenge for this world, which always runs the risk of being atomized and being separated and, when nations separate, families separate, friends separate, only in separation can enmity and even hatred be sown. Instead, when they come together there is social friendship, fraternal friendship and a culture of encounter that defends us from any sort of the disposable culture. Thank you for that and for what you are doing with it.
Pope’s answer to questions:
The first. It didn’t occur to me to leave the papacy, and I’ll share a confidence with you: neither did it occur to me that they would elect me. It was a surprise for me. However, from that moment, God gave me a peace that has lasted up to today. And this keeps me going. That’s the grace I received. On the other hand, by nature I am carefree, so I go ahead.
Look, to build a better world, a much better <world> I said it like someone from Buenos Aires. To build a better world, I believe, can be summarized in those things we spoke about together, no? That is, that each person is recognized in his/her identity, but there is no identity if there is no belonging. There must be belonging, and one of you asked me: if a young man or a girl does not belong <to something>, how can I help him or her? At least offer him/her virtual belonging, but he/she must feel it … and then he/she will have identity. However, a person without identity doesn’t have a future. Therefore, it is urgent to offer membership of some sort, but they must feel that they belong to a group, to a family, to an organization, to something, and that will give them identity –identity, belonging.
And also this — the language of gestures, to have the courage to have the language of gestures. Sometimes we like to talk and talk. Sometimes the language of gestures is different. Talking alone is not enough. We can fall into the “syrup of the beak” and this doesn’t work. <We need> the language of gestures, which sometimes is a pat, a smile. I liked what you said: “No one takes this smile from me.” A smile that gives hope, to look at the other’s eyes, gestures of approval or patience, of tolerance — gestures.
Put aside aggressions, bullying, bullying is something else, bullying is an aggression that conceals profound cruelty and the world is cruel. The world is cruel. And wars are a monument to cruelty.
A nun of an African country, enduring internal wars, sent me photographs; I have them here. And to what point does the cruelty of war reach? — A decapitated boy. So we can understand bullying. If this happens, how can bullying not happen? It is the same cruelty against a boy, and a boy who does so to another, if one sows cruelty. A boy massacred in his head. And this happened last month. In other words, to build a better world, a better world, all kinds of cruelty must be uprooted. And war is a cruelty. But this type of war is even more cruel because it vents its anger against an innocent one.
Then to listen to the other, the capacity to listen, not to argue immediately, to ask, and this is dialogue, and dialogue is a bridge. Dialogue is a bridge. Not to be afraid of dialogue, it is not about San Lorenzo-Lanus, which is being played today, to see who wins. It is about making proposals together to go forward together. Everyone wins in dialogue; no one loses. In an argument, one wins and the other loses or both lose. Dialogue is gentleness, the capacity to listen, it is to put oneself in the other’s place, it’s to extend bridges, and within the dialogue, if I have a different opinion, not to argue, but at most to persuade with gentleness.
As you see, they are all the forms of conduct that came out in questions you asked. And pride, arrogance must be uprooted, because pride and arrogance always end badly. Pride ends badly. In other words, I would answer the question: How to build a better world? By following that path. Our world needs to lower the level of aggression. It needs tenderness. It needs gentleness, it needs to listen, it needs to walk together. Otherwise, all these things are happening today, because all those attitudes I mentioned are lacking. I don’t know if I answered the question, I say. Do you agree? Did I answer?
I thank all of you for your collaboration, your work and your patience. We are thinking of all the youngsters of the world, with their different cultures, languagers, races and religions. And we turn to God, praying with the oldest text of blessing, which is valid and used by the three monotheist religions: “May the Lord bless and protect you; may He make His face shine on you and show you His grace, reveal His face to you and grant you peace. Amen.” And thank you very much for everything and please, pray for me, I need it.
[Original text: Spanish] [Translation by ZENIT]