«I am pleased, Mr. President, to make myself an instrument of gratitude in the name of those, young and old, who see in you a master, a simple master, and above all a coherent and polite witness of service and responsibility»: these are the words of Pope addressed the Italian Head of State Sergio Mattarella to whom he presented the Paul VI International Award.
For his part, Mattarella said: «I would like to ask the Paul VI Institute to allocate the sum associated with the prize to the community named after John XXIII born in Romagna. Some of its shelters have been seriously affected by the floods of recent days. I think that with the award more than my personal action it is meant and intended to indicate a way of interpreting the commitment in society and in the institutions that many have practiced and developed inspired by the vision of Paul VI and his teachings, which many times he has expressed. And I hope to deserve the evaluation of having interpreted them well».
The Pope speaks of legality and quotes Piersanti Mattarella
In his speech for the awarding of the Paul VI Prize to the President of the Italian Republic, the Pope spoke of legality and quoted his brother Piersanti. «Still on the subject of responsibility, I am thinking of that essential component of common life which is the commitment to legality. It requires struggle and example, determination and memory, memory of those who sacrificed their lives for justice; I am thinking of your brother Piersanti, Mr President, and of the victims of the Mafia massacre of Capaci, whose thirtieth anniversary was commemorated a few days ago," said Francesco.
The Pope: Emilia-Romagna has not succumbed to defeatism
The Pope cited the example of the citizens of Emilia Romagna affected by the floods. «Responsibility» as «many citizens of Emilia Romagna show us these days, calls everyone to go against the tide with respect to the climate of defeatism and complaints, to feel the needs of others as one's own and rediscover oneself as irreplaceable parts of the single fabric social and human to which we all belong".
The temptation of politics to get on the pedestal
Francis recalled the value of politics which must always be a "service" to the common good. “And yet, we know well how difficult this is and how the widespread temptation, in every age, even in the best political systems, is to make use of authority rather than to serve through authority. How easy it is to get on the pedestal and how difficult it is to immerse yourself in the service of others!», Francis said.