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The presentation of Pope Francis’ book “Against War.
The courage to build peace” took place on July 1st, in front of a very large audience, in which the protagonist is, of course, the scenario of war in Ukraine.
In the Aula Magna of the Central University Building, the Magnificent Rector of the University of Catania, Prof.
Francesco Priolo, in his introductory greeting underlined the central role of the University of Catania in the cultural debate of the city, subsequently presenting the main initiatives launched by the University to support Ukrainian university students.
The text was recently published by “Solferino” and “Libreria Editrice Vaticana” and collects various interventions made by the Pope in support of peace.
Also included is an introduction written specifically for the volume by Pope Francis himself.
“In front of the harrowing images that we see every day, in front of the cry of children and women, we can only shout:“ Stop! ”.
War is not the solution, war is madness, war is a monster, war is a cancer that feeds on itself by engulfing everything! Moreover, war is a sacrilege! “.
It is with these words, reported by the Pope’s message, that Massimo Palumbo, Catania’s head of Communion and Liberation, started the meeting.
Speakers at the presentation Mario Mauro, Minister of Defense and Vice-president of the European Parliament, Francesca Longo, Pro-rector of the University of Catania and Professor of Political Science, Giovanna Parravicini, researcher of the Russian Christian Foundation, Concetta Carrubba Toscano, volunteer of a NGO in Romania on the border with Ukraine, and Michela D’Oro, dean of the Francesco Ventorino Institute in Catania.
“The Pope affirms that war is a ‘sacrilege'” – continues Palumbo – “but he warns us by revealing a profound truth often censored by the noise of debates, public or private: war is not about ‘others’.
The bad guys or the enemies.
It is born in the heart of man, from selfishness, from pride, from hatred that leads to censure the other, to exclude him “.
In his report Mario Mauro underlined the complexity of the international scenario and presented the historical reference framework recalling the words of Pope Francis, who has repeatedly noted that the “third world war in pieces” is taking place.
The former Minister of Defense explained the reasonableness of the position of the Holy See for the promotion of peace, precisely because of the ability to take into account the complexity of the situations in progress.
The Vice Rector Francesca Longo, in the light of her expertise in political science, provided her contribution on the complex scenarios of international relations between various countries, also declaring that “His Holiness’s message describes in words declined in the language of faith, a model of international relations, which has been theorized since the 1940s, based on cooperation, disarmament and the non-violent solution of the inevitable conflicts of interest “.
Giovanna Parravicini, who has lived in Moscow for many years, stressed that “dialogue” is a central theme “not only in the book at the center of this debate, but throughout the pontificate of Pope Francis and in the words of his predecessors”.
It is on this philosophy that the Catholic-Orthodox cultural center “Library of the Spirit” was born in Moscow almost thirty years ago, with dialogue between Churches and between Church and society as a priority.
The interventions of the last two speakers presented testimonies and experiences in the field.
The first of these is that of Concetta Carruba Toscano who went to Romania twice to assist refugees, preparing a huge number of meals: “I found refugees suffering but with a heart turned to God.
Mothers and children who have lost homes and jobs because everything had been bombed.
Fathers at war and many already dead! We also cooked 17 hours a day with a happy heart and relationships were born that still persist today.
The second testimony was shared by the principal Michela D’Oro, who told of the experience of welcoming three Ukrainian students in the “Ventorino” middle school in Catania, highlighting how the boys, the families, the teachers began to understand that welcoming the differences is a “job” and that you need to go beyond your comfort zone.