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Nobel Peace Prize Laureates and representatives of Nobel organizations visit President Mattarella

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  • Below is the speech the President of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella, gave to the delegation he received in audience Saturday, May 11, on the occasion of the World Meeting on Human Fraternity #BeHuman.

    Your Eminence, Ladies and Gentlemen,

    welcome to the Quirinale. 

    I have gladly accepted the proposal of Cardinal Gambetti and the Fratelli tutti Foundation for a meeting here at the Quirinale. 

    With your testimony you bear a sign of hope in the world.

    Many of you, through choices and gestures made in areas of conflict or great difficulty, show, by the example of life, that even when dialogue breaks down and relations degenerate to the point of becoming clashes, the sense of humanity that unites is stronger than the pain that divides. 

    The world needs peace. And peace is always first and foremost the result of a personal choice, which pours into social life and is renewed over time.

    Article 11 of the Italian Constitution states that ‘Italy repudiates war as an instrument of offence against the freedom of other peoples and as a means of settling international disputes’.

    The Charter of the United Nations, in its preamble a few years earlier, had already emphasised how peoples were determined ‘to save future generations from the scourge of war’; it had also reaffirmed – that Charter – ‘faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and value of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations’, whether large or small; it had also recalled the need for justice in international life; it had urged ‘the promotion of social progress and greater freedom’.

    Thus, at the highest levels, the aspiration for peace and the duty to pursue and defend it has often been enunciated.

    It is a choice that has educated entire generations in the culture of peace that you promote.

    This is the horizon to look to, even if it is obscured by tensions and conflicts. All the more so for this reason.

    History teaches us that politics can stem conflicts by replacing the cultivation of hatred with cooperation, by affirming the primacy of law over force. To finally make the principle of fraternity, which is at the heart of your work, a reality. To affirm that the protection of the rights of persons and communities is not only applied within each State, but is truly expressed and realised if it is extended and applied to relations between peoples. 

    Because the ‘common good’ of the citizens of one state cannot be set against the ‘common good’ of the citizens of another state. Because, more and more clearly, it is becoming apparent that there is a ‘common good’ common to all of humanity.

    We are harshly reminded of this by the great common challenges facing humanity: from climate protection to global health needs; from the great migratory phenomena to the many aspects of the economy and the new tools that science offers, which are far beyond the borders between states, and even between continents.

    It is well known how the motto of the French Revolution lined up, alongside liberty and equality, the word ‘fraternity’, which then quickly fell into disuse. Yet that word represents the complement, indeed, the completion of the other two. It constitutes the landing place of the often invoked principle of solidarity. Together, those three principles define the universal condition of citizenship.

    Fraternity as a category of thought therefore deserves to be considered in the public space. And I am grateful to you for the Declaration on Human Fraternity that has been published: it is an extremely important message for the international community.

    This commitment of yours, this Meeting, helps to build social peace and political friendship, themes that are dear to the Pontificate of Pope Francis; it shows international relations how not to exhaust their purpose in the mere absence of war; it also defeats security based on repulsion towards those who are defined as ‘different’. 

    Your action of proximity enriches that of multilateral bodies, promoting the encounter with the other because, as Pope Francis often repeats, ‘no one saves themselves’.

    And because, in reality, for each person, freedom and rights are realised not to the detriment of those of others, nor only by respecting those of others. Because they are realised, in reality, truly fully, together with those of others. Because freedom and rights are not divisible goods.

    I wish you, therefore, good work, so that this enterprise of yours to sow fraternity may succeed. And therefore true peace.

    All the best.”

    Click here to watch the video of the audience.