Pope Francis: “Cultures become sick when they exclude instead of integrate”

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Pope Francis inaugurated the Vatican Apostolic Library's newest exhibition hall. He was welcomed by the librarian, Cardinal José Tolentino de Mendonça.

'With humility, we can say to you, Holy Father, that we strive to keep up with your vision.'

Its first exhibition is called “Tutti: Umanità in Cammino,” in English, Everyone: Humanity on its way.” It's inspired by the Pope's “Fratelli Tutti” encyclical and is the result of the collaboration between the Vatican Apostolic Library and contemporary artist Pietro Ruffo.

I appreciate this endeavor to open a dialogue. Life is the art of encounter. Cultures become sick when they become self-referential, when they lose curiosity and openness toward others. When they exclude instead of integrate.

The exhibition focuses on maps. Not only geographical maps, but allegorical maps representing humanity's trajectory through history and the person's ideals, discoveries and convictions.

In this epochal change that the pandemic has accelerated, humanity needs new maps to discover the meaning of fraternity, social friendship and the common good. A closed-off mindset is sterile and full of misunderstandings. We are in need of a new beauty.

The Pope said that this new beauty must reflect the diversity of humanity, and that it is our responsibility to remember our roots as we come up with “new maps” for the future.

The Pope spent some time admiring the exhibition. Artist Pietro Ruffo explained some of his own pieces to him.

“All these works that I made are about migration. The map is a fixed element that is traversed by different people.”

The Vatican Apostolic Library is usually only open to academics. Now the general public can access its history, art and culture. The exhibition will be open until Feb. 25, 2022.


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