Pope Francis (Photo: Catholic Press Photo)

The Pope in Bratislava: "The salt of faith"

Meeting with the authorities and civil society: "The salt of the faith acts not by reacting in worldly terms, by engaging in culture wars, but by quietly and humbly sowing the seeds of God’s kingdom, especially by the witness of charity, of love."

Pope Francis

I am grateful to President Zuzana Čaputová for her words of welcome in your name and in that of the entire nation. In greeting all of you, I express my joy to be in Slovakia. I have come as a pilgrim to a young country, yet one with an ancient history, a land of deep roots situated in the heart of Europe. Truly this land is, and has always been, a crossroads. It was an outpost of the Roman Empire and a point of encounter between Western and Eastern Christianity. From Great Moravia to the Kingdom of Hungary, from the Czechoslovak Republic to the present day, you have overcome numerous trials and attained integration and distinctiveness through a fundamentally peaceful process. Twenty-eight years ago, the world followed with admiration the peaceful emergence of two independent countries.

This long history challenges Slovakia to be a message of peace in the heart of Europe. That calling is evoked by the great blue stripe on your flag, which symbolizes fraternity with the Slavic peoples. Such fraternity is necessary for the increasingly pressing process of integration. All the more so, in these days when, after long and trying months of pandemic, fully conscious of the difficulties to be faced, we look forward with hope to an economic upturn favoured by the recovery plans of the European Union. Yet there is always the risk of succumbing to impatience and the lure of profit, leading to a fleeting sense of euphoria that, rather than bringing people together, proves only divisive. Nor is economic recovery by itself sufficient in a world that has itself become a crossroads, in which all are interconnected. Even as battles for supremacy are waged on various fronts, may this country reaffirm its message of integration and peace. And may Europe be distinguished by a solidarity that, by transcending borders, can bring it back to the centre of history.

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