Reviewing the stages of his recent trip to Thailand and Japan, Francis reiterated his condemnation of nuclear weapons. " today the serious threat, in more developed countries, is the loss of the meaning of living. The first victims of the void of the meaning of life are young people ”. A prayer for Albania hit by an earthquake. Next Sunday Francis will go to Greccio, the place where St. Francis made the first crib and who will write a letter dedicated to the crib.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The "firm condemnation of nuclear weapons and the hypocrisy of talking about peace by building and selling war devices" reiterated in Hiroshima and Nagasaki was recalled today by Pope Francis in his general audience speech today dedicated to a review of the recent trip to Thailand and Japan.
In Thailand, he told the 20 thousand people present in St. Peter's Square, "I paid tribute to the rich spiritual and cultural tradition of the Thai people, the people of the “beautiful smile”. The people there smile. I encouraged commitment to harmony between the different components of the nation, as well as to economic development for the benefit of all, and the healing the scourges of exploitation, especially of women and children.”
He continued “The Buddhist religion is an integral part of the history and life of this people, so I went to visit the Supreme Patriarch of Buddhists, continuing on the path of mutual respect initiated by my predecessors, so that compassion and brotherhood may grow in the world. In this sense, the ecumenical and interreligious meeting that took place at the country’s largest university was very significant.”.
"The witness of the Church in Thailand also comes through works of service to the sick and the least among us. Among these, the Saint Louis Hospital excels; I visited the hospital to encourage the healthcare staff and to meet some patients."
First of all, Francis recalled “the challenge of being pastors of a very small Church, the bearer of living water, the Gospel of Jesus.
Pope Francis said: “Protect all life” was the motto of my visit to Japan, a country that bears the scars of the atomic bomb and for the whole world speaks for the fundamental right to life and peace. In Nagasaki and Hiroshima I prayed, I met some survivors and relatives of the victims, and I reiterated my firm condemnation of nuclear weapons and the hypocrisy of talking about peace by building and selling war devices. After that tragedy, Japan has shown an extraordinary capacity to fight for life; and it has done so even recently, after the triple disaster of 2011: the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear power plant accident."
Francis had also spoken of the visit to the cities hit by the atomic bomb yesterday, during the return flight from Japan. "For me - he told reporters he experience was much more touching for me. And there I reiterated that the use of nuclear weapons is immoral, that is why it must be added to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Not only their use, but also possessing them: because an accident or the madness of some government leader, one person’s madness can destroy humanity”.
Today he added that "after that tragedy, Japan showed an extraordinary ability to fight for life; and it did so recently, after the triple disaster of 2011: earthquake, tsunami and nuclear power plant accident ".
"To protect life - he said again - you have to love it, and today the serious threat, in more developed countries, is the loss of the meaning of living. The first victims of the void of the meaning of life are young people, so a meeting in Tokyo was dedicated to them. I listened to their questions and dreams; I encouraged them to oppose together all forms of bullying, and to overcome fear and narrow-mindedness by opening themselves to God’s love, in prayer and service to others. I met other young people at the Sophia University, together with the academic community. This University, like all Catholic schools, is very much appreciated in Japan.”.
Finally, in the various meetings with the Japanese authorities, “I expressed my hope for a culture of encounter and dialogue, characterized by wisdom and a broad outlook. Remaining faithful to its religious and moral values, and open to the Gospel message, Japan can be a leading country for a more just and peaceful world and for harmony between man and the environment".
At the end of the general audience, the Pope wanted to express "closeness" to the Albanian people, suffering the aftermath of a devastating earthquake. Albania, he recalled, “was the first country of Europe that I wanted to visit. I am close to the victims, I pray for the dead, the wounded, the families. I pray for this people to whom I love so much ".
Finally, Francis announced that he would go to Greccio, the place where St. Francis made the first crib in 1223 and that he would write a letter dedicated to the crib.
Before the general audience, the Pope met the participants of the XIX High-level meeting organized by the Azerbaijan Foundation Nizami Ganjavi International Center (NGIC), which takes place in Rome on 27 and 28 November.
Greeting them, Francis congratulated them " or your commitment to address the principal challenges of our day in order to promote peace through dialogue and mutual respect, drawing inspiration from the great Persian poet of the twelfth century for whom your Foundation is named. You do this by placing at the service of the global community the values and experiences acquired in carrying out the important responsibilities you have held in your respective countries. In a particular way, I offer you my prayerful good wishes for the contribution you hope to make regarding the challenge of climate change. I encourage you to continue these efforts in the conviction that a culture of dialogue is the path, mutual cooperation is the code of conduct and reciprocal understanding is the method to grow in fraternity among persons and peoples”.