Vatican City, 28 November 2015 (VIS) - “'Realities simply are, whereas ideas are worked out. There has to be a continuous dialogue between the two, lest ideas become detached from realities. It is dangerous to dwell in the realm of words alone, of images and rhetoric'. To prevent the danger of living detached from reality, it is necessary to open the eyes and the heart”, says Pope Francis in the video message he sent yesterday afternoon to the participants in the 5th Festival of the Social Doctrine of the Church, held in Verona from 26 to 29 November, on the theme “The challenge of reality”.
“Our life is made up of many things”, he continued; “a torrent of news, of many problems: all this leads us not to see, not to be aware of the problems of the people who are near us. Indifference seems to be a medicine that protects us from involvement, and becomes a way of being more relaxed. This is indifference. But this non-involvement is a way of defending our selfishness, and saddens us. … The challenge of reality also requires the capacity for dialogue, to build bridges instead of walls. This is the time for dialogue, not for the defence of opposition and rigidity. I invite you to face 'the challenge of finding and sharing the mystique of living together, of mingling and encounter, of embracing and supporting one another, of stepping into this flood tide which, while chaotic, can become a genuine experience of fraternity, a caravan of solidarity, a sacred pilgrimage'”.
“The challenge of reality, however, requires change. Everyone is aware of the need for change, because we sense that something is not working. … True change begins in ourselves and is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. People who experience inner change from the Spirit lead also to social change”.
The Pope goes on to mention the environmental challenge, and the need to “listen to the cry of Mother Earth. Respect for creatures and for creation represents a great challenge for the future of humanity. Man and creation are inseparably linked”. Francis emphasises that while we think of this theme as being part of politics, economics and development strategy, “nothing can substitute personal commitment. Austerity, responsible consumption, a lifestyle that welcomes creation as a gift and excludes predatory and exclusive forms of possession, is the concrete way of creating a new sensibility. If many of us live like this, it will have a positive impact on society as a whole, and the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor will become audible to all”, he concluded.