On 25th anniversary, Pontiff remembers St. John Paul II's role.
“Where there is a wall, there is closure of the heart. We need bridges, not walls!”
Those were the Pope’s words on Sunday from the window of the papal studio above St. Peter’s Square, where he recalled the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989.
Following the recitation of the Angelus prayer and on the 25th anniversary of this momentous event in history, Pope Francis described the wall as a symbol of the ideological division of Europe and the world which for so long had cut the city of Berlin in two.
The Holy Father went on to say that “the fall happened suddenly, but it was made possible by the long and arduous efforts of many people who had fought for this, prayed and suffered, some even sacrificing their lives. These include,” he added, “a leading role played by Saint Pope John Paul II."
Pope Francis then prayed that, with God’s help, all men and women of good will would continue to spread a culture of encounter, with the aim of bringing down all the walls that still divide the world. He also prayed that there would be no more killing and persecution of the innocent and of those killed because of religious beliefs.
Before the Angelus the Pope remembered the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica, saying, “it is the cathedral of Rome," the one that tradition calls "the mother of all the churches of the city and the world."
Every time we celebrate the dedication of a church, the Pope stressed, we recall the essential truth that this material temple made of bricks is a sign of a Church that is alive and active, that of a "spiritual temple,"…
He added, "this spiritual edifice, the church community of men sanctified by the blood of Christ and by the Spirit of the Risen Lord asks each of us to be consistent with the gift of faith and take a journey of Christian witness." This, the Pope said “is not easy.”
Pope Francis concluded that this feast invites us “to meditate on the communion of all the Churches,” and that this Christian community, by its similarity encourages us to strive so that mankind can overcome barriers of hostility and indifference to build bridges of understanding and dialogue, to make the world a whole family of peoples reconciled with each other, and fraternal solidarity."