Vatican City, 6 February 2015 (VIS) – This morning in the Clementine Hall the Pope received in audience the prefects (governmental representatives) of various Italian cities. In his address, he remarked that their work “implies tenacious dedication to duty and an exhaustive knowledge of relevant issues, along with the flexibility necessary to face the innumerable practical cases that emerge, each one with its own peculiarities”.
Pope Francis recalled that in recent years, during which migration has had a particular impact, partly as a result of “an increase throughout the world of violent conflicts with their tragic consequences for the people and the economies of many countries”, there has been a need for particular delicacy and competence in relation to immigration. The prefects are faced with “the need to identify in the everyday management of situations, frequently in emergencies, the correct application of norms in order to guarantee, along with fidelity to the dictates of the law and current legislation, scrupulous respect for the fundamental rights of every human being”.
“In this area, as in many others, fruitful collaboration between the Prefectures, dioceses and parishes is of great help; collaboration which, with respect for distinct competences, deserves confirmation, recognition and further development. The Church, as a divine and human entity, works in society in the service of people based on the teaching of Christ and, wishing to carry out her educational and charitable mission in sincere collaboration with the institutions of the State for the development of humanity and the good of the country, is pleased to find in the Prefectures one of the fields in which this synergy for the good of all citizens is made particularly tangible”.
The Holy Father went on to note that obedience to the law and the criteria of humanity at its foundations, alongside loyalty to institutions, constitute the indispensable framework within which the prefects carry out their work, and are attitudes favourable to the assumption of responsibility. “The crisis of authority experienced by our society in various fields, both public and private and with wide-ranging consequences, especially for the education of the younger generations, numbers among its causes the lack of these fundamental dispositions towards obedience, listening and patience. Furthermore, the exercise of authority always has as its aim the attainment of the common good, finding its most intimate reason for existence and the very possibility of its effectiveness in placing itself in the service of those over whom authority is held”.
He concluded, “You are therefore called to exercise your professionalism and your humanity, your knowledge and your prudence, without discouragement or pessimism, knowing however that you will not be faced with abstract questions but rather the real face of men and women with their problems and their hopes, that in these years of uncertainty and economic difficulty have become even more pressing”.