On Friday morning, 2 February, Pope Francis met with members of the National Federation Italy-China. He commended them for their efforts to foster good relations between the two countries. “As the Italian and Chinese communities come to know each other better”, he said, “this can lead to greater mutual acceptance and fraternal spirit”. The following is the English text of the Holy Father’s words.
Brothers and sisters,
good morning and welcome!
I extend to all of you a warm welcome and I thank you for your visit, which takes place on the tenth anniversary of the founding of the National Federation Italy-China and amid the celebrations marking Chinese New Year. I appreciate what you have achieved, this fine art, and also your thoughtfulness, for which I thank you.
For some time now, in addition to organizing events for the New Year festivities, you have supported a number of initiatives aimed at fostering dialogue between Italy and China, and seeking to respond to the challenges posed by cultural integration, education and the promotion of shared social values. I express my appreciation for these efforts, and I urge you to continue on the path you have taken, pursuing these aims with generous commitment. In this way, as the Italian and Chinese communities come to know each other better, this can lead to greater mutual acceptance and fraternal spirit.
In offering you these prayerful good wishes, I would like to thank the Chinese Martial Arts Academy of Vercelli for the folkloric dances inspired by the Lion and the Dragon. In the tradition of the noble Chinese people, these dances express the hope that the New Year will be prosperous and productive. Acrobats, as we know, specialize in spectacular and even extremely risky feats of daring. The sight of these acrobatics leads me to encourage all of you to keep taking risks on the path of dialogue, and in this way to become “acrobats of peace and fraternity”.
I accompany all of you with my prayers, and I ask you, please, to pray for me. Thank you.