While commending Italy’s police force for ensuring the safety and security of those travelling by road and train, Pope Francis on Monday called on them to also inculcate humanity, uprightness and “mercy”. The Pope met some 100 top leaders and officials of Italy’s road police that celebrating its 70th anniversary and railway police that is marking its 110 years.
Talking about road safety, Pope Francis told the group it is necessary to deal with the low level of responsibility on the part of many drivers, who often do not even realize the serious consequences of their inattention (for example, with improper use of cell phones) or their disregard. He said this is caused by a hurried and competitive lifestyle that regards other drivers as obstacles or opponents to overcome, turning roads into "Formula One" tracks and the traffic lights as the starting line of a Grand Prix race. In such a context, the Pope said, sanctions are not just enough to increase security, but there is a need for an educative action, which creates greater awareness of one’s responsibilities for those traveling alongside.
The Pope told the police men and women that the fruit of their experience on the road and the railway will help in raising awareness and increase civic sense. Their professionalism not only depends on their skills but also on their “profound uprightness” which never takes advantage of the powers they possess, thus helping develop a “high degree of humanity.” The Pope said that in surveillance and prevention, it is important to ensure never to let the use of force degenerate into violence, especially when a policeman is regarded with suspicion or almost as an enemy instead of a guardian of the common good.
In fulfilling their functions, the Holy Father suggested the police have a “sort of mercy”, which he said is not synonymous with weakness. Neither does it mean renunciation of the use of force. It means not identifying the offender with the offence he has committed, that ends up creating harm and generating revenge. Their work requires them to use mercy even in the countless situations of weakness and pain that they face daily, not only in various types of accidents but also in meeting needy or disadvantaged people.
Good vs evil
The Pope also asked the road and railway police to recognize the presence of the clash between good and evil in the world and within us, and to do everything possible to fight egoism, injustice and indifference and whatever offends man, creates disorder and foments illegality, hindering the happiness and growth of people.