ROME — Social friendship and fraternity are much needed in today’s world, where the prominence of ideologies and increasingly heated passions continue to churn the gears of war, Pope Francis said.
In a video message to participants of a Dec. 3 conference on pastoral ministry in his native Argentina, the pope expressed his concern that “because of sin, because of (human) tendencies, we are always moving toward enmity, toward war” while forgetting that “our vocation is that of harmony, fraternity, in being brothers and sisters.”
“Just look at how the world is: wars everywhere. We are living a Third World War (fought) in bits and pieces. This is not social friendship. Look at the many countries where there is no dialogue, just shouting. Before another person finishes their thought, we are already answering them without having listened to them,” he said.
The one-day conference, which was part of the annual Day of Social Pastoral Ministry, reflected on the theme, “Toward a culture of encounter, a country for all: Fraternity and social friendship.”
In his brief message to participants, the pope said that social friendship isn’t possible without learning how to listen to others and having “the presumption in my heart that the other person has something good to tell me.”
Ideologies and passions, which often seek “to eliminate the other,” are the “two great enemies of social friendship,” he said.
The pope said that while there are pockets “of good social friendships in the world” there is also “so much social enmity,” as exemplified by the sufferings and tribulations of those who are marginalized.
“I mentioned wars but let us look at certain peripheries. Let us look at children without school, people who are hungry, people who have no health care, the immense number of people who don’t have running water, people with no access to the bare minimum to live with dignity,” he said.
“Let us not forget the two great enemies: The ideologies that want to take over the experience of a people, and passions, which are always like a steamroller that goes and destroys instead of engaging in dialogue,” Pope Francis said.