Let monuments be life lessons, not museum pieces

The Pope to the delegated Mayors of the World Heritage Cities in Spain

Vatican Media

This morning, the Holy Father Francis received in the audience the members of the World Heritage Cities Group in Spain, mayors of the 15 Spanish cities declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. The interest “in heritage,” reads the speech given, “cannot remain in the artistic-cultural sphere, but must have a broader perspective, embracing the integrity of the person who receives this legacy and the peoples who give us They have transmitted it”.

Below we publish the text of the words of greeting that the Pope had prepared for the occasion and that were pronounced to those present during the meeting:

Greetings from the Holy Father

Dear brothers and sisters,

I am pleased to be able to receive you in this Vatican “City”, which, just like those you represent, preserves a rich heritage of which we are the custodians. It is a great responsibility, but also a beautiful vocation.

In this regard, I think that our interest in heritage cannot be limited to the artistic and cultural sphere, but should have a broader outlook, embracing the entirety of the person who receives this legacy and the peoples who have handed it down. The historical situations – with their lights and shadows – speak to us of real men and women, with authentic sentiments, who should be lessons of life for us, before being museum pieces.

They are the sufferings and longings of people who, over the course of time, built their own cities, the cross-fertilization of cultures and civilizations who have succeeded one another in them, and of course their faith in God, that makes their hearts beat with passion.

I ask the Lord to grant you, together with the beauty of your cities, the grace of transmitting faith, the hope and charity of your people. May the contemplation of the various monuments allow both those who live there and those who visit to reflect on the prudence and strength that made their creation possible. May they feel called upon by the lessons of justice and temperance that each historical situation holds. In this way, we will speak of peoples, of people, of a history that is not contemplated, but realized, with one eye on the past and the other on the future, in order to always have our hands in the present that questions us every day. God bless you. Thank you.


Holy See Press Office Bulletin, 13 April 2024