Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Custos of the Holy Land and President of the Association pro Terra Sancta, took part on Sunday 24th August 2014 in the 35th edition of the Meeting for friendship amongst Peoples, held in Rimini (Italy), which this year had the theme “Towards the peripheries of the world and of existence. Destiny has not abandoned humanity.”
Many people attended the meeting called “The Power of the Heart –Researchers of Truth”, where the Custos talked about the situation in the Middle East and asked for help in the name of the local Christian community. The meeting had the participation of Emilia Guarnieri, President of the Foundation Meeting for Friendship amongstPeoples and Monica Maggioni, Director of Rainews24.
We believe his message is extremely important at this difficult time for the Holy Land, a message that doesn’t talk about “blame” or “guilty parties”, but which wants to help achieve awareness and dialogue, without which peace would never be possible.
“Force – explains Pizzaballa – without a perspective of social, economic and political reconstruction, will never take us to a solution, but to using more force.” If the hearts have been mainly filled with “hate, resentment, pain and revenge” caused by all the sudden violence, it will never be possible to talk or to find a solution. We need to find a “new path” that takes into account the “power of the heart”, looking to learn from the continuous displays of “solidarity among people with different religions” that take place every day in this land so tormented by terrible conflicts.
The Father Custos also mentioned two important moments for the interreligious dialogue that have taken place in the last few months: the meeting between His Beatitude the Orthodox Patriarch Bartolomeo and the Holy Father Francis at the Holy Sepulchre, and the moment of prayer hosted by Pope Francis in the Vatican, with the presidents of two countries whose hostilities have lasted forever, the president of Israel and the president of Palestine. For this reason Father Pierbattista finished his intervention with words of hope: “The images of death that we have seen until today, the bombing, the missiles, but above all, the intense hate that is fed by all this violence, cannot be separated from that image of the two presidents that are praying together for peace. This is telling us that it’s possible. It’s helping us to raise our eyes. It warms our heart. The Middle East is also this. In the Middle East we need everything: financial, military and political help, as well as mediation and support… but above all we need to still believe that it’s possible to love each other. The testimonies are telling us that, despite all, thanks to the small gestures, this force is still alive.”
In this link you can find the talk by the Father Custodian at the Rimini Meeting 2014 (in Italian).