Pope Francis on Saturday welcomed seven thousand members of the Italian Red Cross in the Paul VI hall telling them their organization carried out an irreplaceable service throughout Italy and the world.
The Pope noted that their work deserved the gratitude of every citizen because it “takes place in the most diverse situations”, such as earthquakes and other natural disasters, helping the populations affected.
Aid to migrants
He also underlined the organization’s commitment in the rescue of migrants during their arduous journey at sea, and in receiving those who disembark, adding that the presence of the Red Cross “alongside immigrants is a prophetic sign, so necessary for our world.”
During his speech to the members gathered, the Pontiff focused on three words from the statutes of the Red Cross.
The first of these “humanity”, Pope Francis said was the call to show compassion to the “children, the elderly, women and men whose face is not recognized as unique and unrepeatable, and that remain invisible, hidden in the shadow of indifference.”
The Good Samaritan
Highlighting the second principle that of "impartiality", the Pope shone the spotlight on the Gospel reading of the Good Samaritan who he said acted impartially by not questioning the man lying on the ground, before helping him, Being impartial he added, “has as its consequence "neutrality" - the third principle - for which your Movement does not take sides with any of the parties in political, racial or religious conflicts and disputes.”
This criterion, Pope Francis added, contrasts with today’s trend, which often makes distinctions between those who deserve attention and relief from those who are deemed unworthy.
In conclusion, the Pope again quoted from the statutes of the relief organization, saying the Italian Red Cross along with the International Movement of the Red Cross and Red Crescent constituted “an international network necessary to coordinate relief efforts, and to ensure "mutual understanding, friendship, cooperation and lasting peace among peoples.
Pope Francis underlined that “those who look at others through the lens of friendship, and not with the lenses of competition or conflict, become the builders of a more just and human world.