No true humanity without freedom 

During his pastoral visit to Slovakia, Pope Francis said: “Without freedom, there can be no true humanity, for humans were created free in order to be free. Whenever freedom was attacked, violated and suppressed, humanity was disfigured and the tempests of violence, coercion and the elimination of rights followed. Freedom, is not something achieved once and for all. It is a process, at times wearying and ever in need of being renewed. Freedom demands personal responsibility for our choices, discernment and perseverance… which involves being challenged by concrete situations that need us to take the risk of making a decision instead of doing what we did in the past, or what public opinion decides for us.”

Defending our supposed identity

During his pastoral visit to Hungary, the Pope said: “Your country is a place where peoples have long lived together. Various ethnic groups, minorities, religious confessions and migrants have made yours a multicultural country. This, at least initially, can be troubling. Diversity always proves a bit frightening, for it challenges our securities and the status quo. In the face of cultural, ethnic, political and religious diversity, we can either retreat into a rigid defence of our supposed identity, or become open to encountering others and cultivating together the dream of a fraternal society.”

False gods that dishonour God

In a meeting with the Jewish community in Slovakia’s capital Bratislava, the Pope listed some of the false idols that dishonour God: “The idols of power and money that prevail over human dignity; a spirit of indifference that looks the other way; and forms of manipulation that would exploit religion in the service of power or else reduce it to irrelevance. Also forgetfulness of the past, ignorance prepared to justify anything, anger and hatred.”

(Compiled by Fr Joe Borg)

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