Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "Starting afresh from family to rethink and change the pattern of development, for the good of the entire human family", because "the fruitful alliance between man and woman, is the answer to the great challenge of our world, which is a twofold challenge: fragmentation and standardization”. This was how Pope Francis summarized his trip to Cuba and the United States during today’s general audience. The public audience to took place in two stages, with the sick in the Paul VI because, said Francis, "the weather was a little 'ugly'.
As per tradition, the Pope toured at length among the 30 thousand people present in St Peter's Square, and blessed a statue of Saint Rita of Cascia, 6 meters high, before tracing the stages of his recent journey. "'Misionero de la Misericordia': That’s how I presented myself in Cuba, a land rich in natural beauty, culture and faith. The mercy of God is greater than any wound, any conflict, any ideology; and with this gaze of mercy I could embrace the whole Cuban people, at home and abroad, beyond all division. The Virgin of Charity of Cobre is a symbol of this profound unity of the Cuban soul and just a hundred years ago, was proclaimed Patroness of Cuba. I went as a pilgrim to the shrine of this Mother of hope, this Mother who guides us on the path of justice, peace , freedom and reconciliation. "
"I was able to share with the Cuban people the hope of the fulfillment of the prophecy of St. John Paul II: that Cuba open to the world and the world open to Cuba. No more closures, no more exploitation of poverty, but freedom in dignity. This is the path that shakes the hearts of many young Cubans: not a way of escape of easy money, but of responsibility, of service to others, of the care of the weak. A path that draws strength from the Christian roots of the people, who have suffered so much. A path in which I encouraged especially the priests and all consecrated persons, students and families. May the Holy Spirit, through the intercession of Mary Most Holy, nurture the seeds that we have laid. "
"From Cuba to the United States of America was a symbolic step, a bridge thank God that is being rebuilt. God always wants to build bridges; we are the ones who build walls! But walls fall down, always! "
"And in the United States there were three stages: Washington, New York and Philadelphia. In Washington, I met with the political authorities, the common people, the Bishops, priests and consecrated persons, the poor and marginalized. I reminded them that the greatest wealth of the country and its people are their spiritual and ethical heritage. And so I wanted to provide incentives to pursue the social construction in fidelity to its basic principle, namely, that all men are created equal by God and endowed with inalienable rights such as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These values, shared by all, found their fulfillment in the Gospel, as was underlined in the canonization of Father Junipero Serra, a Franciscan, a great evangelizer of California. Saint Junipero shows the path of joy: to go and share with others the love of Christ. This is the path of the Christian, but also of every man that has known love: to not keep for himself but to share it with others. The United States of America was born and raised on this religious and moral foundation, and on this foundation they can continue to be a land of liberty and welcome and to cooperation to a more just and fraternal world".
In New York, at the UN, "talking to the representatives of the nations, in the footsteps of my predecessors, I renewed my encouragement and that of the Catholic Church to the institution and its role in promoting development and peace, recalling in particular the need for united and effective efforts for the care of creation. I also reaffirmed the call to stop and prevent violence against ethnic and religious minorities and against civilian populations. "
"We prayed for peace and brotherhood at the Memorial at Ground Zero, together with representatives of religions, many relatives of the fallen and the people of New York, so rich in cultural variety. And for peace and justice, I celebrated the Eucharist in Madison Square Garden. Both in Washington and in New York I visited some charitable and educational realities emblematic of the enormous service that the Catholic communities - priests, religious, lay people - offer in these fields. "
"The high point of the trip was the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, where the horizon expanded to take in the whole world, through the 'prism', so to speak, of the family. he family, that is, the fruitful covenant between man and woman, is the answer to the great challenge of our world, which is a double challenge: fragmentation and standardization, two extremes which coexist and support each other, and together they support the economic model of consumerism. he family is the answer because it is the cell of a society that balances the personal and community dimension, and that at the same time can be the model of a sustainable management of goods and resources of creation. The family is the principal agent of an ecology drive, because it is the primary social subject, which contains within itself the two basic principles of human civilization on earth: the principle of communion and the principle of fecundity. Biblical humanism presents us with this icon: the human couple, united and fruitful, placed by God in the garden of the world, to cultivate and safeguard it".
"In hindsight, it is no accident, rather it is providential that the message, indeed, the testimony of the World Meeting of Families is coming right now from the United States of America, that is the country that in the last century has reached the maximum Economic and Technological development without denying its religious roots. Now these same roots are asking us to start afresh from the family to rethink and change the pattern of development, for the good of the entire human family. "