12/18/2018, 11.49
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Pope Francis: minimalism and a plea for peace

by Bernardo Cervellera

In his Message for the World Day of Peace, the pontiff asks for a conversion of the heart so that politics returns to being a concern for the common good. The "Beatitudes of the politician", invoked across the world. A widespread and profound division between the political classes and the populations is evident. Being "artisans of peace".

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The Message of Pope Francis for the World Day of Peace of January 1, 2019, entitled "Good politics is at the service of peace", seems marked by minimalism. Not only for its brevity, but also for the few simple ideas that are expressed: politics as a "preeminent form of charity"; the "human virtues" to be applied: "justice, fairness, mutual respect, sincerity, honesty, loyalty"; the "vices of politics"; participation - and not exclusion - of young people in politics; peace with oneself, with others and with creation.

Minimalism is explained by a simple observation: "good politics" is almost absent from the world scene and the Pope pleads with politicians to return to their roots, "to the source and the references" that inspire them.

To give an idea of ​​the gap between "good politics" and current politics, it is enough to reread the writings of Card. François-Xavier Nguyễn Vãn Thuận, imprisoned for 13 years in Vietnamese jails, on the "good politician". The pontiff quotes widely from it:

"Blessed be the politician with a lofty sense and deep understanding of his role. Blessed be the politician who personally exemplifies credibility. Blessed be the politician who works for the common good and not his or her own interest. Blessed be the politician who remains consistent. Blessed be the politician who works for unity. Blessed be the politician who works to accomplish radical change. Blessed be the politician who is capable of listening. Blessed be the politician who is without fear"(No. 3)

From the United States, Canada, Latin America, Europe, China and India, throughout the Middle East we can say that none of these "beatitudes" are present and that a large part of the population feels excluded , unheard, overwhelmed. And instead of "radical change", political power works for "stability" (as Xi Jinping reiterated this morning), dominated by the "fear" of having to leave the seat of power to others. The demonstrations rocking France with "yellow vests", in Lebanon with "red scarves", in Hungary, and in many other states speak of the deep division between the political class and the population.

The Pope’s minimalism is therefore a plea for politics to rediscover it’s mandate to be a concern for the common good. But this needs a conversion of the heart. Francis suggests some urgent points on which to intervene: the "uncontrolled proliferation of weapons"; the "terror exercised over the most vulnerable people"; the claims that migrants steal work and hope from the poor; children "soldiers or hostages of armed groups". But in the end, to build peace "which is based on mutual responsibility and interdependence of human beings", "artisans of peace" are needed who can be authentic messengers and witnesses of God the Father who wants the good and happiness of the family human "(no.5).

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