Grand Master Writes to Pope Francis on World Peace Day
Grand Master Fra’ Giacomo Dalla Torre del Tempio di Sanguinetto wrote the following letter in response to Pope Francis’ message for the 53rd World Day of Peace on 1st January 2020:
“I thank Your Holiness, also on behalf of the Order of Malta’s leaders and members, for having again this year offered the world, on the World Day of Peace, a profound message that awakens distracted or dulled consciences. The major instabilities and inequities that increasingly afflict humanity have made Your Holiness’s message of peace more necessary every year until it is now indispensable, urgent and dramatic.
We followed in our minds and our hearts the Apostolic Journey Your Holiness recently made to Japan and to the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the first to be hit by the 1945 atom bomb, and the fraternal closeness you brought to the Hibakusha, to the survivors of the nuclear disaster. We read and meditated upon the courageous and harsh words with which Your Holiness condemned “a perverse dichotomy that tries to defend and ensure stability and peace through a false sense of security sustained by a mentality of fear and mistrust, one that ends up poisoning relationships between peoples and obstructing any form of dialogue”.
What is happening today before our very eyes shows that no “balance of terror”, no “claim to maintain stability in the world through the fear of annihilation” will ever be able to keep peace in a world of growing inequalities, where the system of arms control agreements is falling apart, where there is an ceaseless search for new and unconventional means of destruction and where climate change is destined to produce historic consequences and cause new and massive migratory flows towards the richer part of the world not yet affected by desertification and the water shortages.
Your Holiness closely links security issues with the protection of nature and the ecosystem and we are grateful to you for reiterating a concept in which we firmly believe, but which is apparently having difficulty in entering consciences.
The family of nations, however much this expression today seems anachronistic and outdated, can only be capable of facing the great trials awaiting us in the future by following the way that Your Holiness indicates with great and precise clarity. It is a path based on the essential element of a declaration on solidarity, now tending to lose its collective dimension, that for the Order of Malta constitutes a profound and shared raison d’être, and on fraternity that represents a golden thread woven into the daily message Your Holiness sends to the world.
There is a tension and effort on the part of members of the Order of Malta, as I have pointed out on previous occasions, to act as “peacemakers” and to be positively active in “social life”, in welfare and charitable activities that try to mitigate the consequences of the processes afflicting our societies and that Your Holiness has outlined and indicated with such clarity and precision. We all aspire to adapt the spirit which guides our action to the invaluable appeals Your Holiness makes to the world on the 53rd World Day of Peace.
Fra’ Giacomo Dalla Torre del Tempio di Sanguinetto