I would like to extend my greetings to Their Holinesses and to all the religious Authorities that are here with us.
The Italian Republic welcomes this important assembly.
The spirit of Assisi is renewed today, in Rome, in times marked by grave global threats which are producing pain, poverty and fears. These times allow us to understand, all of us together, how fraternity and harmony are a valuable form of wealth which we need and which we should draw upon.
The dramatic pandemic that has struck all the peoples of the world is a confirmation of this: it has highlighted our common vulnerability and pointed out that humanity in its entirety has common needs and requires mutual collaboration to fulfil those needs – as was emphasised in the Encyclical “Fratelli Tutti” by Pope Francis a few days ago.
This is also true for the environment we live in. It is true for the fight against inequalities, injustices, hunger – which is still jeopardising the lives of millions of people. It is also true for the pandemic we are facing, to make sure that the treatments and vaccines that science will provide us with are made available for everyone, all over the world.
The suffering that all continents are bearing takes on the meaning of a call from history to us all, for peace and cooperation among the peoples of the human family. This callunderscores more than ever the pointlessness of war, today as well as in the past.
Welcoming here the reasons that accompany us as we strive towards peace, the chance to embrace and to show brotherly love, our gathering here in the Campidoglio takes on a greater significance. Similarly, it is of great significance that we are able to bear witness to different religious faiths united in prayer so that humanity can seek out a path towards redemption and a common quest for future horizons.
The Italian Republic recognises and honours the efforts in dialogue made in this direction, being aware of the role of utmost importance that religions play in favouring a developed and equal future among people and communities.
Hope will be more powerful than any obstacle and will no longer be out of reach if women and men of good will are committed to living it out concretely in their everyday life.
The testimony of religions is the prophecy that can help the world to shake off resignation, distrust, resentment. On the other hand, it is distorted to the extent of becoming blasphemy when it is twisted to justify contrasts and hatred, to feed conflict, to fuel fanaticism and violence among peoples.
Prayers gush out of different religious springs towards an otherworldly dimension, nevertheless the faith they originate from creates the chance for a peaceful life together on this Earth, where we share the limits and the wealth of our common human nature.
Rome and Italy are proud of being, today once again, a crossroads of dialogue and peace.