Vatican City (AsiaNews) -Saint Pope John Paul II had a "leading role" in bringing down the Berlin Wall, said Pope Francis after praying the Angelus with pilgrims in St. Peter's Square on the day the world celebrates the 25th anniversary of its fall, to a lengthy applause form pilgrims at the mention of the Polis Popes name.
"For a long
time - explained the Pope - [the Wall] cut the
city in two and was a symbol of
the ideological division of
Europe and the whole world. The
fall came suddenly, but it was made possible thanks to the long and arduous commitment of many people who fought, prayed and suffered for this, some even with the sacrifice of their own lives".
"Let us pray - he added - so that, with the Lord's help and the cooperation of all men of good will, a culture of encounter will continue to spread, capable of bringing down all the walls that still divide the world, and so that no longer will innocent people be persecuted and even killed because of their beliefs and their religion. Where there's a wall there is closure of hearts. We need bridges, not walls".
Francis also mentioned the Italian Thanksgiving Day,
which is celebrated today, entitled "Feeding
the planet. Energy for life,"
referring to the now near Milan Expo 2015, which has the same theme.
"I join the bishops - said the Pope - in expressing a renewed commitment so that no one lacks their daily bread, which God gives to everyone. I am close to the world of agriculture, and encourage you to cultivate the land in a sustainable and inclusive way".
Before the Marian prayer, the Pope paused to comment on today's feast, the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica, the cathedral of Rome, the first church built in the world, after the edict of Constantine in 313, and for this defined as the "Mother of all the churches in the city and the world".
we celebrate the dedication of a church
- he said - we are reminded of an
essential truth: the material temple made of bricks is a sign of the Church alive and
active in history, that of the
'spiritual temple', as the Apostle
Peter says, of which Christ himself is
"the living stone, rejected by men but
chosen and precious in the sight of God"
(1 Peter 2.4 to 8). By virtue of Baptism, every Christian, as St. Paul reminds us, is part of the building of God (1 Cor 3.9). "
"The spiritual home, the church community of men sanctified by the blood of Christ and by the Spirit of the Risen Lord asks each of us to be consistent with the gift of faith and undertake a journey of Christian witness". Moving from his prepared script the Pope added: "It's not easy [to live this consistency], but we have to move forward and make sure our everyday life is coherent to this. We are not Christian because of what we say, but for what we do. It is grace which we ask the Holy Spirit".
"The Church - he continued - at the origins of its life and mission in the
world, was simply a community formed
to profess faith in Jesus Christ, Son of God and
Redeemer of mankind, a faith that
works through of charity. Charity is the very expression of faith and faith is the
explanation of Charity. "
"Even today, the Church is called to be community, rooted in Christ through Baptism, to profess faith in Him with humility and courage, bearing witness to charity. Its institutional elements, structures and pastoral organizations must be ordered to this very purpose".
"Today's feast - he concluded - invites us to reflect on the communion of all the Churches; by analogy it encourages us to strive so that mankind can overcome barriers of hostility and indifference, to build bridges of understanding and dialogue, to make the world a whole family of peoples reconciled with each other, and fraternal in solidarity. In this new humanity, the Church itself is a sign and anticipation, when it lives and spreads the Gospel message of hope and reconciliation for all people with its witness. Let us invoke the intercession of Mary Most Holy, to help us to become, like her, "the house of God," living temple of His love".