Rome Newsroom, Jan 12, 2024 / 10:30 am (CNA).
Pope Francis this week called for cooperation between Christians and Marxists as a way to achieve greater “dialogue” and help in the search for the “common good.”
“I thank you for your commitment to dialogue,” the pope said in a private meeting on Jan. 10 with 15 representatives of DIALOP (Transversal Dialogue Project), an association of European leftist politicians and academics that seeks to bridge Catholic social teaching and Marxist theory.
“There is always a great need for dialogue, so do not be afraid,” the pope said during the event at the Paul VI Audience Hall.
Highlighting the nexus between social, economic, and ecological issues, the pope said that “politics that is truly at the service of humanity cannot let itself be dictated to by finance and market mechanisms.”
The pope buttressed his call for a more inclusive participation in economic and political decision-making by suggesting that “instead of rigid approaches that divide, let us cultivate, with open hearts, discussion and listening.”
“And not exclude anyone at the political, social, or religious level, so that the contribution of each can, in its concrete distinctiveness, receive a positive reception in the processes of change to which our future is linked,” the Holy Father added.
“Don’t back off, don’t give up, and don’t stop dreaming of a better world. For it is in imagination, the ability to dream, that intelligence, intuition, experience, and historical memory come together to make us be creative, take chances, and run risks.”
Pope Francis meets with representatives of DIALOP, Transversal Dialogue Project, an association of European leftist politicians and academics that seeks to bridge Catholic social teaching and Marxist theory, on Jan. 10, 2024, at the Vatican. Credit: Vatican Media
The pope argued that “solidarity is not only a moral virtue but also a requirement of justice, which calls for correcting the distortions and purifying the intentions of unjust systems, not least through radical changes of perspective in the sharing of challenges and resources among individuals and among peoples.”
The pope closed his speech with a reflection on the importance of the rule of law, saying: “It is only in honesty and integrity that healthy relationships can be established and that we can cooperate confidently and effectively in building a better future.”
Pope Francis has made critique of the market economy one of the defining themes of his pontificate. In his 2013 apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, the pope wrote: “We can no longer trust in the unseen forces and the invisible hand of the market.”
“Growth in justice requires more than economic growth, while presupposing such growth: It requires decisions, programs, mechanisms, and processes specifically geared to a better distribution of income, the creation of sources of employment, and an integral promotion of the poor, which goes beyond a simple welfare mentality.”
Vatican News noted that the Jan. 10 audience was “not a short greeting but an interview that lasted with spontaneous questions and answers for about 40 minutes.”
DIALOP was founded in 2014 after a meeting between Pope Francis, the Vienese leftist politician Walter Baier, former Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras, and Franz Kronreif of the Focolare Movement, a spiritual and social renewal founded in 1943 — and approved by the Church in 1962 — to promote universal brotherhood and to foster dialogue between different religious groups.
Both Baier and Kronreif were present at the Jan. 10 meeting. In an interview with Vatican News following the audience, Baier noted that during the speech the pope highlighted “the need for solidarity” especially “toward socially disadvantaged people.”
“He called for a dialogue that goes beyond historical patterns, a dialogue that deals primarily with the excluded and vulnerable and that respects the principles of the rule of law.”
Kronreif said to Vatican News that following the pope’s call from the meeting, the association is “preparing a two-year project that should start in the autumn on peace, on how to build peace … a project to involve especially the young generations in how to make peace grow from below, so that everyone feels called upon to create peace around themselves, to help the victims of war to realize what the roots of war may be and what are the tools to prevent it.”