Nobel laureates and world leaders at the beginning of the World Meeting on Human Fraternity Nobel laureates and world leaders at the beginning of the World Meeting on Human Fraternity 

Parolin on #NotAlone: The world needs hope and fraternity

The World Meeting on Human Fraternity opens with working groups centred on Nobel Prizes, the Environment, Schools, the Weak, and Associations. Speaking on the sidelines of this event, Cardinal Pietro Parolin says Pope Francis is well and has already expressed his desire to resume work.

By Amedeo Lomonaco

“You come together today as a sign of hope for the world,” said Cardinal Pietro Parolin at the opening the “Not Alone” World Meeting on Human Fraternity. “Your being here together already represents a sign of hope. In fact, you have chosen to bring together the wealth of differences and experiences, of which each one is a bearer, to bear witness to what unites our humanity and allows us to recognise ourselves as brothers and sisters, as the Holy Father Francis teaches with his Magisterium.”

Addressing some thirty Nobel Laureates and other world leaders, Cardinal Parolin continued, “Operating in a spirit of fraternity is a responsibility that cannot be shirked by those who are called to animate the culture of international relations.

“Many of you, through choices and gestures made in areas of conflict, demonstrate by the example of your lives that in the interruption of dialogue, relations degenerate and that the fraternity that unites is stronger than the pain that divides. Many of you can testify how weaving the patient web of dialogue is laborious, often tortuous and not infrequently unfulfilling, but it is what is most noble for the good of the human community, both locally and internationally.”

The commitment of Nobel laureates

Among the Nobel laureates attending the World Meeting on Human Fraternity is the former president of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos. Speaking with Vatican News, he expressed the hope that countries will find means of dialogue and cooperation. This is the only way, he said, to build brotherhood.

“The Colombian peace process,” he added, “has taught me that there are no conflicts that cannot be resolved; I believe that with this mentality we can resolve many of the conflicts that exist in the world today.”

Former Costa Rican president Oscar Arias Sanchez drew attention to “the war in Ukraine,” which he described as “the most atrocious and the most painful.” He lamented the feeling that “there is no interest on the part of the two sides in the conflict to negotiate.”

Bengali economist Muhammad Yunus said it was “very important” that the Vatican had convened a meeting on human fraternity “because the world is going in the wrong direction… Somebody has to raise their voice” to say “Look, this is the wrong path. We have to redesign. We have to rethink and go in a different direction.

Yemeni Nobel Peace Prize winner Tawakkol Karman emphasized that gatherings such as the Meeting on Human Fraternity are “not just about spreading messages,” but about “amplifying the messages” so that people can understand the true meaning of fraternity. She also highlighted the need to support “those people who are sacrificing, struggling for freedom, for justice, for democracy, for peace; [and] not the leaders who are attacking these values.”

Paths of fraternity

“Not Alone” is an initiative inspired by the Encyclical Letter Fratelli tutti, and organized by the Vatican Foundation of the same name – in collaboration with St Peter's Basilica, the Dicastery for the Service of Integral Human Development, and the Dicastery for Communication – to promote the culture of fraternity, dialogue, and peace. The event will bring together various personalities and young people from all over the world.

The day is divided into two main parts. In the morning, five working groups – centred on Nobel Prize winners, the environment, schools, the fragile, and associations – will meet to address the theme of fraternity and share paths of communion. In the afternoon, beginning at 4 pm, the Meeting will take place, a moment of celebration and unity in the name of sharing, art, and music. The meeting will be hosted by Italian television personality Carlo Conti. Saturday morning's proceedings looked ahead to the afternoon event, when young people from various countries, holding hands, will join in a collective greeting in the colonnade of St. Peter’s Square.

A highlight of the Meeting will be an embrace between two young people, from Ukraine and Russia respectively. Cardinal Mauro Gambetti, the archpriest of the Vatican Basilica, stressed that “they will be part of this embrace that wants to be worldwide.”

He said the embrace is meant “to awaken in consciences the word ‘fraternity’.” He explained, “I believe this is the foundation of our living on earth, but also of our living together. If we do not recognize ourselves in this way, we will not be able to build a future; we will always be chasing or trying to prevaricate.”

Cardinal Parolin at the meeting with Nobel Prize laureates
Cardinal Parolin at the meeting with Nobel Prize laureates

Cardinal Parolin: The Pope is doing well

Ahead of the morning’s proceedings, Cardinal Pietro Parolin spoke with journalists. Responding in particular to a question about the health of Pope Francis, the Vatican Secretary of State said that the Pontiff “is doing well,” adding, “The news that I have received, beyond what has been published, is that the course is positive and that the Pope has already expressed the desire to resume work; so this is a good sign.”

War in Ukraine: Holy See focused on humanitarian aspects

Cardinal Parolin also spoke about the ongoing war in Ukraine: “We will now inform the Pope about what happened during the visit of Cardinal Zuppi” to Kyiv, “and then we will reflect together a little on what to do next.”

He said the mission of the president of the Italian Bishops' Conference “went very well”: “There was also the meeting with President Zelensky, which was not taken for granted.”

He noted, too, that there was an opportunity to deepen “those concepts that the president had already expressed to the Holy Father.” These included, the nature of “the peace plan that they would like to see receive the broadest consensus from the international community.”

Cardinal Parolin explained that the Holy See could certainly also be involved in efforts for peace, adding that at this point it was necessary to see how this could come about, especially with regard to “humanitarian aspects.” This, the Cardinal Secretary of State noted, “could be the specific area in which to work for our part.”

A possible meeting between Cardinal Zuppi and Patriarch Kirill?

The Cardinal then responded to a question about a possible meeting between Cardinal Zuppi and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill of Moscow: “We have not yet spoken about the visit to Moscow; we must first report to the Holy Father, [and] see what his inclinations are. But I believe there would be no difficulty in meeting Patriarch Kirill.”

Concerning the situation of children forcibly deported to Russia, the Vatican Secretary of State stressed that it is “a very, very delicate issue,” adding, “It is a matter of finding formulas but it is not easy; we also plan to continue working in this direction.”

The way of fraternity

Turning in conclusion to the meeting with Nobel laureates, Cardinal Parolin said it demonstrated the “commitment on the part of everyone to work in the sense of human fraternity.” The significance of this day, he said, is “that there should be a concrete commitment to overcoming conflicts through this ‘high road’ that the Pope has indicated to us in the encyclical Fratelli tutti: [the path] of fraternity.”

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10 June 2023, 14:43