The Pope hugged an Israeli and a Palestinian in Verona and said that war “is a defeat for everyone”

Hugging, crying, hugging the Pope who was also visibly moved, one Jewish, the other Palestinian, who lost family members during this war “which is a defeat for everyone.” Maoz and Asís, businessmen in Israel and Palestine, were applauded this morning by the 12,000 Christians gathered in the Arena of Verona, to greet the Pontiff and commit themselves “against this war in the midst of the storms of the world” as Francis said.

Today the Pope visited Verona, also called the city of Romeo and Juliet, in northern Italy, because both were protagonists of the creative genius of William Shakespeare in a masterful literary work. The highlight was the meeting in the amphitheater built in the year ’30, inspired by the Colosseum in Rome, where the deadly fights and massacres of Christians of the old era were replaced by a Pope hanging the gold medal of the fighters for an increasingly threatened peace in a world that, as Francis has said several times, has already undertaken “the third world war in pieces”.

The Argentine Jorge Bergoglio lived today one of the most emotional moments of his pontificate. In his speech, he said that “I am increasingly convinced that the future of humanity is not only in the hands of the great leaders and the great powers and the elites. It is above all in the hands of the people”.

Francis called on ordinary people to ask “world leaders to listen to their voices, to get involved in the negotiation processes, so that agreements are born from the reality of ideologies.”

“Peace will never be the result of distrust of the walls, of the weapons pointed by the Huns against others,” he maintained. “Let us not sow death, destruction and poverty, but hope. This is what you are doing in this Arena of Peace. “Do not slack off, do not be discouraged,” he asked the faithful.

Pope Francis in the Arena Verona before 12 thousand faithful. Photo AFP.

Bergoglio added that “today the Nobel Prize that could be given to many is the Nobel Prize of Pontius Pilate, because they are masters at washing their anuses.” Improvising outside the prepared speech, Francisco said that we must put in sight “the culture strongly marked by individualism, which seeks to eliminate the dimension of community, of the vital relationships that sustain us and make us advance. And this, in political terms, is the root of dictatorships,” he argued.

The Pope said that in this way “the consequence also occurs of the way in which authority is understood. Whoever fills a responsible role in a political institution or in a company or in a reality of social commitment, risks feeling invested with the duty to save others as if he were a hero. This poisons authority!”

Francisco continued by warning that if the idea of ​​a leader is of a loner above all others, then we are making ours “an impoverished and impoverishing vision that attacks the creative energies and makes sterile that of the community and society, since none exists without the others, no one can do everything alone.”

According to the Pope, putting an end to all forms of war and violence requires “being with the little ones, respecting their dignity, listening and doing so that their voice can be heard without filters.” Furthermore, he added that it is necessary to “take a position on their side, against violence, leaving the culture of violence and its justifications.”

The pope spoke before more than 12,000 faithful in Verona. Photo EFE
Flags of Israel and Palestine at the Pope Francis event.Flags of Israel and Palestine at the Pope Francis event.

Francisco, who largely enriched his speech with improvisations that made his imperative call to fight for peace more dramatic. He explained that “we feel that in our society we breathe a tired air, so many do not find the reason to carry out their activity without being dominated by the urgency of the last minute.”

As is known, the Pope invites us to fight for peace because of his conviction that we are living in a hybrid world war made up of large and smaller conflicts. In his speech he said that “it is necessary to seek peace and that is achieved through dialogue.”

In the Arena of Verona, the Pope spoke sitting in a special chair built by the prisoners of the Montorio prison, which he later visited to speak with the detainees. Francis’ visit to that city has been scheduled within eight hours before his return by helicopter to Rome.

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