Pope Francis: Recognize common values to contest those who exploit differences for brutal violence
Pope Francis arrived exactly three minutes early to Sarajevo, at 8:57 a.m.
It is his second official trip to a European country. His goal is to help Bosnia-Herzegovina heal some of the wounds that are still open 20 years after a civil war killed 250,000 people in the country.
People from different ethnic groups awaited the Pope on the tarmac: Serbians, Bosnians, and Croatians. An official meeting would take place later.
Even airport workers broke protocol and stopped to greet Pope Francis.
Later, Pope Francis got into a Ford Focus and drove through the streets of Sarajevo, headed toward the presidential palace.
The three members of the presidency, each representing a different ethnic group, were waiting for the Pope.
Then Pope Francis delivered his first speech of the day. It was a call for dialogue and reconciliation that was well received by the Muslim representative to the Serbian presidency.
Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina
"Even today total equality has not been achieved for citizens in every part of the country. For that reason, we must work together with great dedication.â?
Indeed, in some areas there is true segregation. Sometimes, Muslim Bosnians and Catholic Croats use separate facilities, like classrooms.
"It is vital that all citizens be equal both before the law and its implementation, whatever their ethnic, religious or geographical affiliation. All alike will then feel truly involved in public life. Enjoying the same rights, they will be able to make their specific contribution to the common good.â?
Different civil, diplomatic, and political representatives heard Pope Francis speak. He told them that their responsibility goes beyond just their country.
"In order to successfully oppose the barbarity of those who would make of every difference the occasion and pretext for further unspeakable violence, we need to recognize the fundamental values of human communities, values in the name of which we can and must cooperate, build and dialogue, pardon and grow; this will allow different voices to unite in creating a melody of sublime nobility and beauty, instead of the fanatical cries of hatred.â?
Before his departure, the Pope came together with the three representatives to the presidency and released doves. He greeted them in Bosnian.
"Mir vama. Peace be with you.â?