Fra’ Giacomo Dalla Torre writes to the Pope on World Day of Peace
Most Blessed Father,
I would like to express my gratitude and that of all the Order of Malta’s members for having drawn everyone’s attention, with your message for the celebration of the World Day of Peace, to the suffering of migrants and refugees in their search for protection and a better life, for themselves and for their families, and also to the duty to welcome and integrate, albeit within the limits of prudence of government leaders to safeguard the common good.
Migration is revealing itself to be a phenomenon that not only brings with it immense suffering together with great violence and abuse, but is also one of the most lacerating and divisive topics in the political debate in many countries of our Europe. In these times of profound crisis, the successor to Peter’s message can offer a very valuable stimulus for rediscovering the value of human solidarity and fraternity. A stimulus to shake off the ethical inertia that sometimes prevents us grasping the enormity of a drama in which every year thousands of men, women and children lose their lives in the sea; a sea around which Christ, the apostles and the great saints were born, a sea crossed by those bringing the Gospels to Italy, to Europe and to the world.
Since the day when, in anticipation of the Great Jubilee of 2000, the Venerable St. John Paul II listed the growing flood of refugees as one of the consequences of the wars and dramas of the 20th century, the number of migrants has grown by almost fifty percent. A sign that we are unhappily not about to see a rapid end to the evils afflicting the world, as we ever more frequently recall Your Holiness’s prophetic words when, as far back as 2014, you spoke of a “world war [fought] piecemeal, a war in chapters”. Present or potential conflict areas are intensifying day by day, hand in hand with the production and marketing of increasingly modern and thus ominously more effective weapons. Only Your Holiness’s vision and moral authority can stem the extremely negative processes we are faced with by awakening consciences and the will to react to seemingly inexorable developments.
On behalf of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, which I am serving during a moment of profound reflection on the way we perform our mission, I enthusiastically accept the invitation to become part of that “network of assistance and goodwill” evoked in the message for the World Day of Peace. I am certain that all its members, professed or not, will be able to recognize themselves in the very essence of its 904 years of existence: that mercy that was the keynote of the 2015-2016 Holy Year.
All of us are deeply struck by the evocation of the “new Jerusalem…the city with its gates always open” that I believe I can accept, on behalf of the entire Order, as a reminder of its own origins, its own mission, its own spirituality that is renewed every day and that seeks to adapt itself to profoundly changed times and situations that are destined to evolve even more.
We will do whatever possible, Most Blessed Father, for this message to reach our confreres in every country in which the Order is active, present and represented. The new Jerusalem, at a time in which doors seems to be closing and the Holy City is once again the epicentre of serious tensions, it will be the guiding principle of our reflections in an important year in the Order’s life, in its search for renewal while preserving its most positive and profound historical features.
I ask Your Holiness to accept my devotion and that of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem with the assurance of a constant prayer on my part, on that of the community of the Grand Magistry and of the entire Order.
Fra’ Giacomo Dalla Torre del Tempio di Sanguinetto
from the Magistral Palace, 21 December 2017