The pope has praised one of his predecessors, John Paul II, for his role in the fall of the Berlin Wall – and appealed for the construction of “bridges, not walls”.
Addressing the St Peter’s Square faithful, Pope Francis also paid tribute to many others who contributed to the Wall’s downfall.
“Twenty-five years ago, on 9 November 1989, the Wall of Berlin fell. It divided the city for a long time and it was the symbol of the ideological division of Europe and of the whole world. The fall happened suddenly, but it was the result of the hard and long work of a lot of people, who fought, prayed and suffered for this achievement. Some people also lost their lives for it,” Pope Francis said.
“Among them, Pope John Paul II played a main role,” he went on.
John Paul II’s support for the Solidarity Union in his native Poland is credited with helping to set in motion events that resulted in the demise of communism in the former Soviet bloc.
Pope Francis added: “Let us pray so that, with the help of the Lord and the help of all those of good will, we can foster a culture of coming together to bring down all barriers still dividing the world. Where there is a wall there is a closure of hearts. We need bridges, not walls!”