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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Dialogue, common good can heal nation wracked by fear, pope tells France

In a world filled with frustration and fear, seeking the common good is more important than ever, Pope Francis told French politicians.

Before leading his general audience on 30th November, the pope met privately with French political representatives, who were taking part in a pilgrimage to Rome. The officials came from the southeastern Rhone-Alpes region.

As French citizens prepare for presidential elections starting in April, the pope supported the bishops’ call for rediscovering the true meaning of political life.

Given “the current international climate, marked by frustrations and fears, intensified by attacks and blind violence that deeply lacerated your country, it is even more important to seek and develop the meaning of the common good” and what is in the general interest, he said.

France, whose foundations are liberty, equality and fraternity, the pope said, is full of potential and its diversity should be seen as an opportunity.

“A true debate about values and guiding (principles) recognised as common to all is at stake,” he said.

Christians are called to take part in that debate together with believers of every religion and all people of goodwill, even non-believers, in regard to building a better world, he said.

Seeking the common good, he said, requires listening, especially to those in precarious living situations and migrants who have fled their homes because of war, poverty or violence.

“That way, in carrying out your duties, you can contribute to a society that is more just and human, a welcoming and fraternal society,” he said.

Picture: Floral tributes and candles opposite the Bataclan theatre in Paris, after terror attacks killed at least 129 people in the city on Friday 13th November 2015. (Steve Parsons/PA).