► “The culture of fraternity, or the culture of indifference”
Pope Francis gave a speech on Friday September 22 during a moment of contemplation in front of the memorial dedicated to sailors and migrants missing at sea. At the foot of the Notre Dame de la Garde basilica, on an esplanade overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, he denounced the tragedy of the shipwrecked people, who perished while trying to reach Europe. “This magnificent sea has become an immense cemetery where many brothers and sisters are even deprived of the right to a grave, and where only human dignity is buried,” he denounced.
The pope called on Europeans to demonstrate humanity and fraternity. “Dear friends, we are also at a crossroads,” he summed up. “On the one hand, fraternity, which fertilizes the human community with kindness; on the other, indifference, which is bloodying the Mediterranean. We are at a crossroads of civilizations. Either the culture of humanity and fraternity, or the culture of indifference: let everyone manage as best they can. »
⇒ READ: The Pope’s speech for those missing at sea
► “Let the Mediterranean once again become a laboratory of peace”.
Pope Francis was invited to Marseille to conclude the Mediterranean Meetings, a week of exchange between bishops and young people from across the Mediterranean. His speech, delivered on Saturday September 23 at the Palais du Pharo, in the presence of the President of the Republic Emmanuel Macron, was structured around three realities of Marseille, presented as so many symbols: the sea, the port, the lighthouse.
“The Mediterranean, the mare nostrum, at the crossroads of North and South, East and West, concentrates the challenges of the entire world as evidenced by its “five shores” on which you have reflected: South Africa. North, the Middle East, the Black-Aegean Sea, the Balkans and Latin Europe, he began.
“We are here to promote the contribution of the Mediterranean, so that it once again becomes a laboratory for peace. Because this is its vocation: to be a place where different countries and realities meet on the basis of the humanity that we all share, and not of opposing ideologies. Yes, the Mediterranean expresses a thought that is not uniform or ideological, but polyhedral and adherent to reality; a vital, open and conciliatory thought: a community thought, that’s the word. »
Returning to the theme of migration, he made a clear distinction between a welcome that favors integration, rather than assimilation. “While future generations will thank us for having been able to create the conditions for essential integration, they will accuse us for having only favored sterile assimilations,” he said.
“Integration, even of migrants, is difficult, but far-sighted: it prepares the future which, whether we like it or not, will happen together or not; assimilation, which does not take into account differences and remains rigid in its paradigms, makes the idea prevail over reality and compromises the future by increasing distances and causing ghettoization, provoking hostility and intolerance. We need fraternity like we need bread. »
⇒ READ: The Pope’s speech at the Pharo Palace
► “A thrill before life, a thrill before our neighbor”
Pope Francis celebrated a “votive mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Guard” on Saturday September 23 at the Vélodrome stadium. In front of 60,000 faithful, he commented on the words of the Gospel recounting Mary’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth: “when Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child trembled within her.”
“The experience of faith, in addition to a thrill before life, also provokes a thrill before our neighbor,” he stressed. “In the mystery of the Visitation, in fact, we see that the visitation of God does not take place through extraordinary celestial events, but in the simplicity of an encounter.”
“Let us always remember, even in the Church: God is relationship and often he visits us through human encounters, when we know how to open ourselves to others, when there is a thrill for the life of those who pass every day by our side and when our heart does not remain impassive and insensitive to the wounds of those who are the most fragile. »
⇒ READ: The Pope’s homily at the Vélodrome stadium