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Feast of the Pope 2017

Feast of the Pope

Address of the Apostolic Nuncio, Msgr Luigi Bonazzi

Apostolic Nunciature, June 22, 2017


Dear Friends,

Welcome!  I greet and thank all of you who, by your presence, honor this “House of the Pope” in Canada as we recall and celebrate the Fourth Anniversary of the Election of Pope Francis.

Je salue en particulier les représentants du gouvernement fédéral, des gouvernements provinciaux et des municipalités, les membres de la communauté diplomatique, les autorités religieuses des différentes traditions, et les amis et voisins de la Nonciature. Merci pour votre présence qui exprime le respect et l’estime que vous portez au Saint Siège, et de manière très particulière, l’affection que vous portez au Pape François.

The Feast of the Pope!   But who is the Pope? I will answer the question – and I think it is interesting – when speaking of this Pope, Pope Francis, born and baptized with the name Jorge Mario Bergoglio – to relate to you the reply given by the Pope during the course of an interview with Fr. Antonio Spadaro, Editor of the Italian Journal La Civiltà Cattolica in August, 2013.  Quoting from the Interview by Fr. Spadaro: “I ask Pope Francis point-blank: ‘Who is Jorge Mario Bergoglio?’ He stares at me in silence. I ask him if I may ask him this question. He nods and replies: ‘I do not know what might be the most fitting description…. I am a sinner. This is the most accurate definition. It is not a figure of speech, a literary genre. I am a sinner.’ The pope continues to reflect and concentrate, as if he did not expect this question, as if he were forced to reflect further. ‘Yes, perhaps I can say that I am a bit astute, that I can adapt to circumstances, but it is also true that I am a bit naïve. Yes, but the best summary, the one that comes more from the inside and I feel most true is this: I am a sinner whom the Lord has looked upon… a sinner on whom the Lord has turned his gaze. And this is what I said when they asked me if I would accept my election as pontiff.’ Then the pope whispers in Latin: ‘I am a sinner, but I trust in the infinite mercy and patience of our Lord Jesus Christ, and I accept in a spirit of penance.”

À partir de cette conscience de lui-même, à partir de cette définition que le Pape donne de lui-même, il est aisé de comprendre pourquoi, depuis les premiers jours de son pontificat, le Pape François semble n’avoir d’intérêt que pour un sujet : la miséricorde.

La miséricorde est le code pour déchiffrer le pontificat du Pape François. Il est fermement convaincu que la Miséricorde de Dieu englobe non seulement les situations personnelles, mais aussi les événements de ce monde, les événements de la société, les groupes humains, les familles, les peuples et les nations. Précisément pour cette raison, rien et personne n’est jamais perdu. L’être humain n’est jamais irrécupérable. Aucune situation n’est imperméable au pouvoir subtil et irrésistible de la bonté de Dieu qui n’abandonne jamais l’homme et sa destinée. La vérité ne se réalise que dans la miséricorde. En effet, le dernier mot de l’histoire et de la vie n’est pas celui du conflit, mais de l’unité, à laquelle le cœur de chaque être humain aspire.

From here comes the daily work of the Pope. Which is?  That of opening doors, building bridges, establishing contacts, maintaining friendships, promoting unity. With all: the great and the powerful of the world and with the poor, with special preference for the poor, the homeless, the lonely and the unwanted; attentive to leading the Catholic Church, with the solicitude of Christ the Good Shepherd, to welcoming as also visiting other Christian Confessions, other Religious Groups and Faith Traditions, and people of good will the world over.  In fact: with every man and women in their own unique and inviolable dignity.

The doors of the house of Pope Francis in the Vatican, in the last few months, have been opened many times to welcome Canada:  in the bishops of this country who made their “Ad limina Visit”.  All came back renewed and enthusiastic as the result of the welcome as also the time and attention Pope Francis gave them.

The Pope also received Prime Minister Trudeau.  Together they shared their common concerns for peace in the world, for care of the environment and for recognizing the need to pursue reconciliation and healing with the Indigenous peoples of Canada.  As we approach the celebrations marking the 150th Anniversary of Confederation this July, we all have to go back to school as it were, to examine a page of history and recognize that while many positive benefits came from the evolution of Canada as a nation there were along the way, difficulties and failings.  Pope Francis has spoken out on other occasions about these painful realities as did the Popes before him, acknowledging that in the work of evangelization the legitimate aspirations as also the cultural inheritance and profound dignity of persons and communities were not always accorded due respect and honor.  Much more needs to be done in the work of Truth and Reconciliation.

Lors de cette visite, le Premier Ministre a une fois encore exprimé le désir de tant de canadiens d’une côte à l’autre, que ce pays puisse ouvrir ses portes pour accueillir le Pape François dans un avenir qui ne soit pas trop lointain ; ce pape bien aimé de nous tous. Pour le moment, permettez-moi, au nom du Pape François, de vous exprimer toute l’affection et le respect qu’il porte à cette grande nation; cette nation dont la devise, tirée de l’Écriture Sainte, reconnaît que la grande beauté et la grande majesté de ce pays, aussi bien dans son peuple que dans sa terre, bénéficient de l’attention providentielle de Dieu – « Qu’il domine de la mer à la mer » dit le Psaume; « A mari usque Ad mare »  (Ps. 72:8).

Tout en célébrant ce soir la fête du Pape, nous pouvons aussi proclamer «Bonne fête au Canada» à l’occasion du 150ème anniversaire de la Confédération !

Merci encore pour votre présence aujourd’hui ! Je vous souhaite une très belle soirée!