Francis remembers the five who died in the events of January 6 at the Capitol.
Pope Francis made special mention of the United States after praying the midday Angelus on January 10, four days after the country was jolted by images of a mob entering the US Capitol building as Congress was in the process of certifying the election of Joseph Biden.
The Holy Father said he sends an “affection greeting” to the people of the United States, “shaken by the recent siege of Congress.”
He first of all assured his prayers for the five people who lost their lives in the midst of “those dramatic moments.”
The pope continued:
I repeat that violence is always self-destructive. Nothing is gained with violence and so much is lost. I urge government authorities and the entire population to maintain a deep sense of responsibility, in order to soothe souls, to promote national reconciliation and to protect the democratic values rooted in American society. May the Immaculate Virgin, patroness of the United States of America, help to keep alive the culture of encounter, the culture of caring [for one another], as the royal road to build together the common good; and do it with all those who live in that land.
A “culture of encounter” is one of Pope Francis’ key phrases, and he has often appealed for it. In a morning homily in Casa Santa Marta in 2016 on the Gospel passage where Jesus raises the son of the widow of Nain, he described what he envisions with a “culture of encounter”:
Not just seeing, but looking; not just hearing, but listening; not just passing people by, but stopping with them; not just saying “what a shame, poor people!” but allowing yourself to be moved with compassion; “and then to draw near, to touch and to say: ‘Do not weep’ and to give at least a drop of life.”
It’s been a characteristic phrase of the Holy Father’s since the very beginning of his pontificate. It is in contrast to another phase he uses frequently, the “throw-away culture,” by which he refers to the tendency to see human beings as disposable, including for example, the elderly, the unborn, the disabled, the poor, etc.