“In the ocean of history, we sail on a stormy breakwater and the lack of courageous courses of peace is felt.” Francis addresses authorities at the cultural center of Belén, not far from the 16th-century tower that dominates the Tagus River like an image from the age of great discoveries. And he addresses Europe, “heart of the West”, to invoke a change of course: “It is worth asking: where are you heading, if you do not offer paths of peace, creative paths to end the war in Ukraine and the many conflicts that stain the world with blood?
Bergoglio has arrived in Lisbon for World Youth Day (WYD), a million young people await him in the Portuguese capital. “I will return rejuvenated”, smiled on the plane to the journalists who followed him on the trip until Sunday. And he immediately explained that he hoped that WYD “be, for the Old Continent an impulse of universal opening”. “For Europe, for the true Europe, the world needs its role as bridge builder and peacemaker in its eastern part, in the Mediterranean, in Africa and in the Middle East.”
Only in this way “Europe will be able to contribute, on the international stage, its specific originality, outlined in the last century when, from the crucible of world conflicts, it ignited the spark of reconciliation, investing the dream of building tomorrow with yesterday’s enemy , to launch paths of dialogue and inclusion, developing a peace diplomacy that extinguishes conflicts and alleviates tensions, capable of capturing the slightest signs of détente and reading between the most crooked lines”.
Your visit will be busy, as you have scheduled 11 speeches and twenty meetings. They wait a million pilgrims from more than 200 countries for this week.
The Europe that was formed on the rubble of the Second World War knows how to “build tomorrow with yesterday’s enemy.” And Lisbon may “suggest a change of pace”, says Francisco, evoking the Treaty that was signed here on December 13, 2007.