At 9.30 this morning, in the Consistory Hall of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father Francis received in audience a group of young people from Panama.
The following is the Pope’s greeting to those present:
Greeting of the Holy Father
I thank you for this visit because you express gratitude. The archbishop has expressed the gratitude of a people, in this case concentrated in me, but it is a mutual gratitude, among all. In your words you thank each one of the Panamanians also, each of the Curia here, all of us who have worked. It is good to give thanks to each other. It is a word that we often forget: we forget to thank. When we need we ask, and then “if I saw you, I do not remember”. Then that need to thank us ennobles us.
Speaking of thanking, when spouses, young spouses ask me how to survive marriage – because today we have to speak like that, in those terms – I say: “Look, there are three magic words: asking permission, saying “please”, so as not to be invasive; “thank you”, thanking the spouse continuously, and “sorry” – when you make a mistake, asking for forgiveness. Well, you are acting out one of those three magic words, which is gratitude. I am also very grateful for what I saw: a noble people, I repeat it. And nobility is not bought, it is generated, it is inherited, it is breathed, it is lived. You are either noble or not noble. A certificate does not give you the nobility. I found a noble country. In addition, a country where protocol exists, but the protocol needs to be popular too. And when I saw people in authority such as the president, in jeans and T-shirts, going around among the people that night like any other person, other authorities doing other things, or when I say the bishops involved with the people and the priests – that is nobility, it is the nobility of the people, it is respecting the people, loving the people. We know that Latin America is threatened by things that tend to break this nobility. This nobility that comes to us in the blood. May the Virgin defend us from that.
I want to thank you for all your meticulous work. That only a noble soul would think of, a noble people. I think about your children and the intergenerational dialogue that you mentioned. I would insist on that. Do not neglect it. Today we must strengthen the bridge of children to grandparents, to recover the roots, the memory of the roots. Do not use roots to hide. That is what fundamentalists do – no, not that. But take the sap from the roots and grow and flourish. And bear fruit, but from the roots, not from the first theory sold by the empire. No, not that. And do not let ideological colonizations enter into that – they kill nobility. This bridge will help your identity.
I also want to thank you for respecting your people in the two previous meetings: with African Americans and with indigenous people. That is great, it is to say: no, our town did not start from here; no, our people also have roots that must be integrated. That ability to integrate is also something of nobility. I was very happy in Panama, I was very happy. You breathed normality, tenderness, a very beautiful thing. So thank you to all of you who have made this possible, and get ready for the second one that, surely ... a Successor of mine will call 150 years from now, no problem! Thank you.