Against polarization and confrontation: Pope Francis emphasizes the value of dialogue in his monthly prayer intention

In The Pope Video, the Holy Father focuses on dialogue as the “path to seeing reality in a new way, so we can live with passion the challenges we face in constructing the common good.” He calls for putting an end to the polarization that divides us and praying that “no spaces of enmity or war” may remain.

(Vatican City, June 30, 2021) – The Pope Video has just been published with the intention that Francis is entrusting to the entire Catholic Church through the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network. In this month of July, the Holy Father calls us to become “architects of dialogue and friendship” to solve the conflicts and causes of division that exist in society and among individual people. Only through dialogue, he tells us, is it possible to flee the constant polarization and social enmity that destroy so many relationships.

Francis asks that we pray to construct the common good with men and women who extend a hand to each other, and especially to always be at the side of the most impoverished and vulnerable.

Dialogue in a polarized world

Although in general we can say that, on a global level, the number of war deaths has been dropping since 1946, conflicts and violence on a societal level are more present than ever. Although at times it doesn’t manifest itself physically, we can observe a growing polarization that ends up contaminating many relationships. The Pope already warned about this in 2016: “We see, for example, how quickly those among us with the status of a stranger, an immigrant, or a refugee, become a threat, take on the status of an enemy.” Since then he has been observing with concern how polarization and enmity were also a “virus” that was invading our ways of thinking, feeling and acting.

In today’s world, Francis points out, “part of our politics, society and media dedicate themselves to creating enemies so as to defeat them in a game of power.” This is why we need to “build social friendship, which is so necessary for living together well,” a friendship that can serve as a bridge to continue creating a culture of encounter, which will bring us closer, above all, to those who are on the peripheries, the most impoverished and vulnerable.

Dialogue to construct the common good

In his latest encyclical, Fratelli tutti (2020), the Pope dedicated the sixth chapter to “Dialogue and Friendship in Society”: “Authentic social dialogue involves the ability to respect the other’s point of view and to admit that it may include legitimate convictions and concerns” (FT 203). In his intention for July, he reinforces this idea, reaffirming that dialogue is a great opportunity to see “reality in a new way, so we can live with passion the challenges we face in constructing the common good.”

Giving priority to dialogue means abandoning the logic of polarization and replacing it with respect, without wanting to destroy others. There can be richness in differences, but if there is no dialogue we can allow them to lead to hostility, threats and violence. “We come from distant lands; we have different traditions, skin color, languages and social backgrounds; we think differently and we celebrate our faith in a variety of rites. None of this makes us enemies; instead, it is one of our greatest riches,” Francis said several years ago. 

Men and women who are architects of dialogue and friendship

Fr. Fréderic Fornos, S.J., International Director of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, observed that this intention “highlights the Holy Father’s emphasis on achieving the ‘rebirth of a universal aspiration to fraternity’ (FT 8). Dialogue, authentic dialogue that doesn’t fall into parallel monologues, must be our first option for solving social, economic, and political conflicts. All international academic research shows that polarization has grown greatly in recent years, even in the most solid democracies. For this reason, being architects of friendship and reconciliation—what Francis is asking of us—is even more urgent in today’s world, where—as Benedict XVI reminded us in his encyclical letter Caritas in veritate—our increasingly globalized society brings us closer together but doesn’t make us grow in fraternity. Achieving this does not depend only on our own strength, and this is why we need to pray for this intention. We ask Jesus Christ to help us on this path. He is the path to true social friendship.”

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About The Pope Video

The Pope Video is an official global initiative with the purpose of disseminating the Holy Father’s monthly prayer intentions. It is carried out by the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (Apostleship of Prayer). Since the year 2016, The Pope Video has had more than 158 million views across all its social networks, and is translated into more than 23 languages, receiving press coverage in 114 countries. The videos are produced and created with the support of La Machi Agency and the team of The Pope Video of the Prayer Network, coordinated by Andrea Sarubbi. The project is supported by Vatican Media. More information at: The Pope Video.

About the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network

The Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network is a Vatican foundation, with the mission of mobilizing Catholics through prayer and action in response to the challenges facing humanity and the mission of the Church. These challenges are presented in the form of prayer intentions entrusted by the Pope to the entire Church. The foundation’s mission is inscribed in the dynamic of the Heart of Jesus, a mission of compassion for the world. It was founded in 1844 as the Apostleship of Prayer. It is present in 89 countries and is made up of more than 22 million Catholics. It includes a youth branch, the EYM: Eucharistic Youth Movement. In December 2020, the Pope constituted this pontifical work as a Vatican foundation and approved its new statutes. Its international director is Fr. Frédéric Fornos, SJ. For more information, visit: https://www.popesprayer.va.

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adminAgainst polarization and confrontation: Pope Francis emphasizes the value of dialogue in his monthly prayer intention