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Peace Forum: Pope calls for ‘responsible hope’ to emerge from pandemic

Pope Francis sends a message to the 4th edition of the Paris Peace Forum calling for “responsible hope” to improve the world and emerge from the pandemic. He also writes that “there can be no peace-generating cooperation without a concrete collective commitment to integral disarmament.”

By Vatican News staff reporter

In his message to the Paris Peace Forum 2021, which runs from 11-13 November, Pope Francis focuses on a world emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic, and writes that in this “historical phase, the human family is faced with a choice.”

Return to normality?

The first possibility, he writes, “is that of a so-called 'return to normality.’” However, the Pope notes that this would mean “a return to the old social structures inspired by ‘self-sufficiency, nationalism, protectionism, individualism and isolation’ and excluding our poorer brothers and sisters.” 

Pope Francis emphasizes that “in this globalised but fractured world, the decisions we take today to get out of the crisis determine the ‘course’ for generations to come.”

In order to create a better future, remarks the Pope,  “we need a new way out; we must work together to come out better than before.” 

Commitment to integral disarmament

The first and most urgent issue, emphasizes the Pope, is that “there can be no peace-generating cooperation without a concrete collective commitment to integral disarmament.”

He notes that “the ruling classes and governments justify this rearmament by referring to an abused idea of deterrence based on a balance of armaments.”

But he goes on to say that the “idea of deterrence, in fact, has in many cases proved fallacious, leading to major humanitarian tragedies.”

Opportunity for conversion

The pandemic, writes Pope Francis, “has been a revelation to us all about the limitations and shortcomings of our societies and lifestyles.” And yet, he goes on to say, “in the midst of this shadowy reality, we need to hope.”

Pope Francis expresses his hope that “the Christian tradition, particularly the social doctrine of the Church, as well as other religious traditions, can help to give the reliable hope that injustice and violence are not inevitable, are not our destiny.”

Faced with a pandemic which has “shaken the world,” the Pope says that our conscience calls us to a path of hope that is not comfortable with returning to a “normality” marked by injustice, “but to accept the challenge of taking on the crisis as a ‘concrete opportunity for conversion, for transformation, for rethinking our way of life and our economic and social systems.’” 

Responsible hope

This “responsible hope,” he writes, “allows us to reject the temptation of easy solutions and gives us the courage to proceed along the path of the common good, care for the poor and our common home.”

“Let us not waste this opportunity to improve our world,” concludes the Pope. “Animated by this conviction," he writes, “it is possible to generate economic models that serve the needs of all while preserving the gifts of nature, as well as forward-looking policies that promote the integral development of the human family.” 

11 November 2021, 13:17