VATICAN – RELIGION – On 13 September Pope Francis will pray at the military monument of Redipuglia, Italy, for those who have fallen in all wars, to commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, “an enormous tragedy about which I heard many painful stories from my grandfather, who fought in the Battle of the Piave”. He announced this at the end of his meeting in St. Peter’s square with the Carabinieri, Italy’s military police corps, celebrating the bicentenary of its foundation.
“Between the Carabinieri and the people there exists a bond of solidarity, trust and dedication to the common good”; said the Pope in his address. “The Carabinieri ‘stations’, present throughout the national territory, are points of reference for collectivity, even in the most remote and peripheral towns and villages. And this capillary presence requires you to participate in the life of the community to which you belong, seeking to be close to the problems faced by the people, especially the weakest and those in difficulty. Your vocation is service”.
This vocation is made manifest in “the protection of individuals and the environment, in action for security, the respect for the rules for civil co-existence and the common good; it is a concrete and constant commitment to the defence of the rights and duties of individuals and communities. The maintenance of public order and personal safety is an increasingly current issue in a dynamic, open society committed to the protection of civil rights and liberties, such as Italy, where you serve”.
Pope Francis went on to speak about the history of the Carabinieri Corps, mentioning that it numbers among its members the Servant of God Salvo d’Acquisto, who at the age of 23 in Palidoro, near Rome, “offered his young existence to save the lives of innocent people from Nazi brutality”. He also commented on their notable efforts beyond national borders as “peacemakers, to ensure security, respect for human dignity and the defence of human rights in countries racked by conflicts and tensions of every type”. He concluded, “Never cease to give everywhere, in your homeland and elsewhere, a clear and joyful witness of humanity, especially towards the neediest and least fortunate”.