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Building Peace Beyond Borders: An Initiative organized at the Vatican

The legacy of the Venerable Robert Schuman, often hailed as the founding father of a united Europe, continues to inspire efforts to build peace across the continent. Schuman’s guiding principle, “Economic progress must go hand in hand with moral progress,” remains a central tenet for those dedicated to fostering harmony and cooperation.

Monsignor Bernard Ardura, the Postulator of Schuman’s Beatification Cause, emphasized Schuman’s belief in placing the human person at the center of progress. “Let's place the human person at the center. And then, as the great Robert Schuman said, 'Economic progress must go hand in hand with moral progress,'” Ardura remarked.

Pierre Louvrier, founder and chairman of the Clementy Foundation, hosted a round table at the Vatican inspired by Schuman's concept. The event aimed to promote dialogue and enhance global stability. Louvrier explained, “Our target is to create a forum where people can come and talk, where people can come and meet and see how the mechanism of a common market of shared responsibility for defense can provide security and prosperity to everybody.”

The Holy See's neutrality and impartiality were crucial in hosting this dialogue. As Msgr. Ardura noted, “The Holy See has always claimed to be not only neutral, but impartial. For this reason, it does not defend the interests of one side or the other, but the interests of the population, the interests of the common good. For this reason, I believe that the Church, especially the Catholic Church, has this great duty and does it, I believe, a great duty to invite everyone to begin peace negotiations.”

Behind closed doors, experts from various nations in conflict convened to promote Schuman's vision of a community of interests, aligning with the Holy See’s calls for peace. Jan Figel, a Slovakian politician and former EU Commissioner, facilitated Slovakia’s integration into the European Union and NATO, embodying Schuman’s goal of lasting peace based on European brotherhood.

Figel highlighted Pope Francis' message to the United Nations that "brotherhood is the route to peace." He stressed the importance of nurturing and living this relationship, particularly in light of the challenges faced in Ukraine and across the old continent. “We need to show that we are brothers in faith and in humanity,” Figel said, emphasizing the need for a recommitment to shared values.

The high-level meetings hosted by the Clementy Foundation at the Vatican began on April 13th. While these discussions were held privately, the Foundation symbolized the universal call to peace by organizing a sacred music concert open to the public. Louvrier explained, “The target there was to take people from different countries that are at war, like Palestine, Israel, like Azerbaijan, Armenia... and then we brought many other nationals. There are Americans. There are people from the Federation of Russia. They are people from Ukraine. The head of the orchestra is from Ukraine, and we've assembled them in a sign that's around the beauty given by God that humankind can unite and provide beauty.”

Jan Figel expressed his dream of building a community of shared values stretching from Anchorage to Vladivostok through Europe and Central Asia. “This would be the most powerful community for peace in the world, not only in Europe but for the world. I think the 21st century is a great invitation to make it happen,” Figel envisioned.

The Venerable Robert Schuman's vision has fostered almost 80 years of peace within the European Union. Now a candidate for sainthood, Schuman’s ongoing journey toward canonization continues to inspire efforts to build a more harmonious and united world.


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