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​Social justice as a remedy to war

· ​Message of the Substitute of the Secretariat of State ·

“A propitious occasion” to “renew responsibility by seeking ways to prevent all threats of armed conflict, through the promotion of greater social justice, freedom and solidarity”. Pope Francis expressed this hope in a message signed by Archbishop Angelo Becciu, Substitute of the Secretariat of State, for the occasion of the Second Unveiling of the Panels War and Peace at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

The two large frescoes painted by Brazilian artist Candido Portinari (1903-1962) have returned to their previous splendour after a meticulous, five-year restoration. Beginning on 8 September 2015, it is possible to once again admire them at the UN General Assembly Hall, the site of the unveiling ceremony. The panels, measuring 14 metres high by 10 metres wide, have also been displayed in Brazil and France, thanks to the “Portinari Project” directed by the artist’s son, José Candido Portinari, at the Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro. The murals illustrate the ruin and desolation of humanity on one side, and portray a healthy and harmonious world on the other.

In the message addressed to Cardinal Orani João Tempesta, Archbishop of São Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro, the Pontiff’s words are directed to all people in this world who, as the Evangelii Gaudium decries, are “being torn apart by wars and violence, and wounded by a widespread individualism which divides human beings, setting them against one another as they pursue their own well-being” (n. 99). The message concludes: “In faithfulness to the commitment subscribed in this building of the United Nations here in New York, we anxiously await the time in which nations “shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” (Isaiah 2:4).

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St. Peter’s Square

Dec. 14, 2018

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