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Defending the Dignity of Every Human Life: Pope’s Call to Italian Scouts

As the Italian Catholic Movement of Adult Scouts (MASCI) commemorates 70 years since its establishment, Pope Francis urges them to uphold their foundational principles of community, education, service, and the protection of human life and the environment.

By Lisa Zengarini

Pope Francis, during a meeting with around 150 board members of the Italian Catholic Movement of Adult Scouts (MASCI) founded in 1954, emphasized the importance of maintaining a compassionate community that serves the dignity of all individuals and safeguards our shared planet.

Embracing the Theme of “More life to life”

Speaking at the Clementine Hall, Pope Francis praised the theme selected for the anniversary celebration, “More life to life,” which encapsulates the ethos inspiring three emblematic projects planned by the Italian Scout movement this year. These projects include the provision of a thermal cot to the First Aid and Reception Center for migrants in Lampedusa, the establishment of a nautical joinery in Zambia, and the establishment of a new forest in Northern Italy.

The Pontiff highlighted how these initiatives resonate with key Christian values.

Universal Love for Life

The symbolic donation of a cot symbolizes the celebration of new life in the midst of a challenging demographic decline, particularly in Italy where the average age of the population has reached 46. Pope Francis underscored that a cot represents the joy of childbirth, signifying the importance of family as a nurturing and secure environment for children, emphasizing the value of life at every stage.

Moreover, the Pope emphasized that directing this donation to a migrant reception center in Lampedusa underscores the universal and inclusive nature of cherishing life, transcending boundaries of nationality or circumstance.

Rejecting the Production of Weapons

Reflecting on the carpentry project, which holds special significance for Christians due to its association with Jesus, the Carpenter of Nazareth, Pope Francis highlighted the contrast between the production of weapons for warfare and the true calling of humanity. He emphasized the fundamental role of individuals in utilizing God’s gifts not for destruction but for the common good, advocating for the construction of a just and peaceful society where every individual can lead a dignified life.

Environmental Stewardship and Social Justice

Lastly, in reference to the forest planting project, Pope Francis underscored our responsibility towards the Earth, emphasizing the urgent need to protect our common home entrusted to us by the Creator. He noted the historical connection between scouting and environmental conservation, stressing the importance of addressing the severe repercussions of unsustainable exploitation, self-centered lifestyles, and neglect of environmental and social injustices.

Upholding Compassionate Community Values

In conclusion, Pope Francis encouraged the Italian scouts to remain a compassionate and inclusive community, embracing the task of welcoming, listening to, and supporting those encountered on their journey. He urged them to courageously proclaim the Gospel, venture beyond their comfort zones to engage with others, especially those on the margins of society in contemporary times.