The theme of your meeting is one to which I myself have often called attention: the
need to build bridges, not walls. I keep repeating this in the lively hope that people
everywhere will pay attention to this need that is increasingly acknowledged, albeit
at times resisted by fear and forms of regression. Without renouncing prudence, we
are called to recognize every sign and mobilize all our energy in order to remove the
walls of division and to build bridges of fraternity everywhere in the world.
The three focal points of your meeting intersect along this journey of bridge building
in a critical time like our own. You have given a central place to the ecological
challenge, since certain of its aspects can create grave imbalances not only in terms
of the relationship between man and nature, but also between generations and
peoples. This challenge – as it emerges from the Encyclical Laudato Si’ – is not simply
one of many, but the broader backdrop for an understanding of both ecological ethics
and social ethics. For this reason, your concern for the issue of migrants and refugees
is very serious and provokes a metanoia that can foster ethical and theological
reflection, even before inspiring suitable pastoral attitudes and responsible and
carefully planned political policies.