Bolis: It is a text we can understand better now than fifty years ago, given the prophetic vision of the world it presents, which at the time was heading towards globalization. John XXIII wrote that no one country could either protect peace or avoid war, since we are all so closely interconnected. Today we are very aware that this is indeed the case. The international interplay of problems and solutions is what we have come to call “globalization”. Of course, the context has changed profoundly – there are no longer two blocks and we no longer speak of the "Cold War" – but the challenges set forth in Pacem in Terris remain, beginning with the fact that there can be no talk of peace without development and, therefore, without justice. These are all subjects which subsequently have been taken up by Pope Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI.
Is it true that there is a similarity between Pope Francis and John XXIII?
Bolis: There are certainly similarities between the two Popes in terms of manner and style. I think it is premature to say that there are also similarities in their teaching. Both are characterized by an accessible and popular way of speaking, in the “lofty” sense of the word. Both of them speak by way of signs: At the beginning of his pontificate, John XXIII went to visit prisoners at Regina Coeli, as well as young patients of the Bambino Gesù hospital. These gestures aroused great astonishment, as similarly happened with the washing of the feet on Holy Thursday that Francis wished to celebrate with young people who are detained at the Casal del Marmo.
Is it possible that Pope Francis will come to Sotto il Monte to celebrate the memory of his predecessor?
The diocese had invited Pope Benedict. I don’t know if Pope Francis will accept the invitation, but it would not surprise me if he did. Each day holds new surprises.
Francis & John XXIII
A portrait of Pope John the XXIII
Chiara Santomiero - published on 04/07/13
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