Vatican City, 8 November 2014 (VIS) – “Make way in the family, in creation, and in the city”, exhorted the Pope this morning as he received in audience seven thousand members of the adult Italian scouts, gathered in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall to celebrate the seventieth anniversary of the foundation of this branch of the movement.
With regard to the first path to take, within the family, Francis remarked that this community of life and love is where every person learns how to relate to others and to the world and, “thanks to the foundations acquired in the family, is able to project him- or herself in society, and to frequent other formative environments, such as school, the parish or associations, in a positive way. Thus, in this integration of the bases assimilated in the family and 'external' experiences, we learn to find our way in the world. … For a movement such as yours, based on continuing education and on the choice to educate, it is important to reaffirm that education in the family constitutes a priority decision. … Dialogue between spouses, along with mutual listening and comparison, are elements essential for a family to be serene and fruitful”.
Turning to the second point, opening up a path in creation, the Holy Father reiterated that in our time “we cannot ignore the ecological question, which is vital for the survival of mankind, nor can we reduce it to a merely political issue: indeed, it has a moral dimension that affects all of us, and so no-one may choose to ignore it. As Christ's disciples, we have a further reason to unite with people of good will for the protection and defence of nature and the environment. Indeed, creation is a gift entrusted to us from the hands of the Creator. … This doctrine of our faith offers us an even stronger impetus towards a responsible and respectful relationship with creation: in inanimate nature, in plants and in animals we recognise the imprint of the Creator, and in our peers we see His likeness. Living in close contact with nature … does not only imply respect for it, but also commitment to contributing in a concrete way towards eliminating the wastefulness of a society that tends increasingly to discard goods that are still usable and could be donated to those in need”.
Finally, to lead the way in cities, it is important to bring the joy of Gospel values to the streets and quarters and to make a contribution to the common good, in a just and open dialogue on different social and cultural themes. “In a complex and multicultural society, we are able to offer witness, with simplicity and humility, to Jesus' love for every person, also experimenting with new paths of evangelisation, faithful to Christ and faithful to humanity. People often live in wearisome situations in cities, and at times risk becoming disorientated and losing the capacity to see the horizon, to feel God's presence. The true compass to offer to these brothers and sisters is a heart close by, a heart that is 'oriented', as it were, towards God”.