Florence Charter: Here Is the Text of the Document
Signed by the Bishops and Mayors of the Mediterranean
Cardinal Bassetti and Mayor Nardella sign the Florence (C) CEI Charter
In his closing address at the meeting on the “Mediterranean Frontier of Peace,” Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti highlighted “the importance of the Florence Charter, signed on Saturday at the Palazzo Vecchio at the end of the joint meeting of Delegate Bishops and Mayors of the cities of the Mediterranean. “Take it to your cities, to your schools, to the Religious Communities, to your parishes. Spread but above all embody it in your life. The Charter is, in fact, not only the symbolic testimony that exists in the Mediterranean conscience. The Charter is a social pact, a pact of social friendship. The Florence Charter is a ray of light in the darkest hour,” said the Cardinal.
Here is the text of the document.
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After Bari, the Bishops of the Mediterranean met for a second time in Florence, taking up the aspiration and courage of Giorgio La Pira in working for the peace and unity of peoples. The Mayors of the Mediterranean, invited by the Mayor of Florence, Dr Dario Nardella, wished to gather contemporaneously in Florence, aspiring as well to the initiatives of Mayor Giorgio La Pira, to study and work for peace, justice, and fraternal coexistence in their cities.
Coming together at the end of their respective works, the Bishops and Mayors witnessed the benefits that stem from intensifying collaborations in their cities in order to preserve justice, reinforce fraternity, and respect of all the citizens and cultural and religious communities present there. From this profitable and cordial meeting, never before held, they agreed together on some ideals and values to inspire their future path, to lessen discrimination and violence, and to open horizons of hope for the young generations.
Verified over these days were war actions against Ukraine. Sentiments of grief gripped Bishops and Mayors, who hoped jointly that violence and arms are blocked and great sufferings are avoided for the Ukrainian people and negotiations take place to rebuild peace. Hoping that further meetings can take place, the Catholic Bishops and Mayors of the Mediterranean cities, meeting in Florence:
inspired in the inheritance of Giorgio La Pira, a former Mayor of Florence, who already in the 50s promoted inter-cultural and inter-religious dialogue between the cities and, in particular, between the Cities of the Mediterranean;
aware that the Mediterranean was, historically, the crossroads of the European cultures and of Western Asia, of the northern and southern hemisphere and which can play a crucial role for peace and the development of nations through cooperation between its cities and Religious Communities;
united in the conviction that the Mediterranean cannot and does not want to be a place of conflict between outside forces;
guided by a shared aspiration to put the human person at the center of the international agenda, pursuing peace, protecting the planet, guaranteeing prosperity, promoting respect and dignity of the fundamental rights of every individual, including through the promotion of sustainable development objectives and the Paris Climate Agreement;
aware of the numerous challenges that the Mediterranean area must face such as climate change, migratory flows, conflicts and poverty;
convinced, therefore, that to value and promote the role of cities and the dialogue between its civic and Religious Communities offers an essential contribution to these challenges;
the diversity f the patrimony and of the traditions of the Mediterranean area as shared patrimony of all of humanity. All-natural, environmental, cultural, linguistic, and religious values of the Mediterranean, material and immaterial, are regarded as sources of dialogue and unity between our peoples and should be protected and transmitted to the present and future generations;
the importance of an educational commitment that starts from primary needs, common to all human beings, and which can guide young people in the path that leads to desire the good, love, justice, and freedom.
The necessity to develop greater opportunities for dialogue and constructive meeting between the different cultural and religious traditions present in our communities, in order to reinforce the bonds of fraternity that exist in our regions;
The importance of creating common University programs, in order to introduce young people of all the Mediterranean region to a better respectful knowledge of the traditions and the cultural particularities of every country;
The key role of diplomacy at the urban level in the promotion of an integral and sustainable human development based on respect of the dignity and the fundamental rights of every human being;
The fundamental importance of the recognition of a universal right to health care and to social protection in the Mediterranean area, in particular, following the COVID-19 pandemic, and the central role that cooperation at the level of cities can play in the fight against sickness;
The need to implement, as soon as possible, integrated solutions to avoid disastrous climate changes. The time to act is now, in order to preserve the quality of life for the coming generations and to have an integral ecological approach;
The opportunity to promote a true transformation of the society geared to the establishment of a culture of social sustainability, also through new ways of cooperation between policymakers, scientists, spiritual and cultural leaders, and leaders of commerce;
The importance of promoting quality job opportunities for the disadvantaged categories, young people and women, and foster the economic and social development of migrants’ countries of origin also through programs of cooperation geared in particular to the protection of children;
The migratory policies of the Mediterranean and at the borders must always respect fundamental human rights;
The strong existing connection between migratory flows and climate change, which affects the Mediterranean Sea in an accentuated way: phenomena such as desertification, deforestation, the degradation of the soil are potentially exposing billions of people to mass displacements and migrations;
The importance of the reinforcement of inter-cultural and inter-religious relations, in order to reach a higher level of mutual understanding between individuals of different origin, language, culture, and religious creed; while committing themselves to promote concrete projects of cultural, religious, social, and economic inclusion.
That the governments of all the Mediterranean countries establish a regular consultation with the Mayors, with all the competent representatives of the Religious Communities, of local entities, of cultural institutions, of Universities and of the civil society on the questions discussed in this Conference. The cities claim their right to take part in the decisions that affect their future;
Governments, Mayors, and Representatives of the Religious Communities to promote educational programs at all levels — a path that integrates the anthropological, communicative, cultural, economic, political, generational, inter-religious, pedagogical, and social approaches to bring about new universal solidarity and a more welcoming society;
Governments, Mayors, and Representatives of the Religious Communities to promote shared initiatives for reinforcing fraternity and religious freedom in the cities, for the defense of migrants’ human dignity and for the progress of peace in all countries of the Mediterranean;
Mayors and Representatives of the Religious Communities to dialogue and mobilize resources for a sustainable social and economic development in favor of international cooperation, inter-cultural and inter-religious dialogue, respect of every individual through a fairer sharing of the economic and natural resources;
Mayors to discuss and explore what ideally a civil society has today and how contemporaneous contexts integrate religious traditions and cultural expressions;
Representatives of the Religious Communities to explore how they can interact between them and with the representatives of the municipal governments and the civic leaders in order to understand the causes and reasons of violence and, hence, to work together to eliminate it;
That governments adopt sure and shared rules to protect the Mediterranean ecosystem in order to promote a circular culture of the Mediterranean in harmony with nature and with our history.