‘No one is saved alone’: Pope Francis calls on men to save each other
ROME, Italy, October 21, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Pope Francis spoke twice yesterday about the importance of saving fellow human beings and not seeking to be “saved alone.”
The context for his remarks against a selfish approach to salvation was yesterday’s International Meeting of Prayer for Peace, entitled “No one is saved alone: peace and fraternity.”The two halves of the event were simultaneous prayer services in various locations near Rome’s Piazza del Campidoglio, and then an interfaith ceremony within the piazza itself.
Pope Francis presided first over the Christian prayer service in the Basilica of St. Mary of the Altar of Heaven (Basilica di Santa Maria in Ara Coeli). There he gave a homily in which he reflected on those who mocked the crucified Christ by saying “Save yourself!”
“At the supreme moment of His sufferings and love, many of those present cruelly taunted Him with the words: ‘Save yourself!’ (Mk 15:30)," the pontiff said to the Christian gathering.
“This is a great temptation. It spares no one, including us Christians. The temptation to think only of saving ourselves and our own circle,” he continued.
“To focus only on our own problems and interests, as if nothing else mattered. It is a very human instinct, but wrong. It was the final temptation of the crucified God.”
Pope Francis stated also that “save” has a religious connotation, and that the scribes and pharisees who joined in the mockery thought that Jesus’ saving of others was useless as it seemed He could not save himself.
“The mocking tone of the accusation is garbed in religious language, twice using the verb to save,” the pontiff said.
“But the ‘gospel’ of save yourself is not the Gospel of salvation. It is the falsest of the apocryphal gospels, making others carry the cross. Whereas the true Gospel bids us take up the cross of others.”
Pope Francis took up the theme of salvation again at the interfaith ceremony in the Piazza del Campidoglio, making it more clear he means an earthly, temporal salvation — peace, prosperity, security, and happiness brought about through fraternal cooperation — not eternal life.
“How do we find a way out of intransigent and festering conflicts? How do we untangle the knots so many armed struggles? How do we prevent conflicts? How do we inspire thoughts of peace in warlords and those who rely on the strength of arms?” he asked.
“No people, no social group, can single-handedly achieve peace, prosperity, security and happiness. None," Francis continued and then quoted from his recent encyclical Fratelli tutti.
“The lesson learned from the recent pandemic, if we wish to be honest, is ‘the awareness that we are a global community, all in the same boat, where one person’s problems are the problems of all. Once more we realized that no one is saved alone; we can only be saved together.’”
The pontiff added that “fraternity” will help everyone understand that we can only be saved together, and concluded by saying that this salvation will come from temporal peace.
“For indeed, with God's help, it will be possible to build a world of peace, and thus, brothers and sisters, to be saved together,” Pope Francis said.
The ambiguity of the Italian phrases Francis employed is lost in translation. "Nessuno si salva da solo" can mean both “no one is saved alone" and "no one saves himself alone." “E possibile costruire un mondo di pace, e così, fratelli e sorelle, salvarci insieme" also suggests that we (ci) can together save ourselves by building the world of peace.
In Fratelli tutti, the sentiment “No one is saved alone” expressed the pontiff’s beliefs in the interconnectedness of all humanity:
... (A])worldwide tragedy like the Covid-19 pandemic momentarily revived the sense that we are a global community, all in the same boat, where one person’s problems are the problems of all. Once more we realized that no one is saved alone; we can only be saved together. As I said in those days, “the storm has exposed our vulnerability and uncovered those false and superfluous certainties around which we constructed our daily schedules, our projects, our habits and priorities … Amid this storm, the façade of those stereotypes with which we camouflaged our egos, always worrying about appearances, has fallen away, revealing once more the ineluctable and blessed awareness that we are part of one another, that we are brothers and sisters of one another.”
LifeSiteNews approached a number of theologians and philosophers for their opinon on what Pope Francis meant when he talked about salvation in the context of an interfaith celebration.
“Francis has substituted a horizontal, anthropological, one might even say psychological notion of ‘salvation’ for the traditional meaning of salvation in Christianity: the decisive intervention of God's grace in the life of sinful man, converting his heart and making him a 'new man,'” Dr. Peter Kwasniewski told LifeSiteNews via social media.
“This comes about by God's gracious pleasure and by the sacrifice of Christ, not by 'turning toward the other and welcoming him’ or ‘giving up selfish political ways’or whatever other horizontal descriptions the pope offers," he continued.
“Our encounters in this life with ‘the other’ may very well be, and should be, occasions for God's grace to enter our lives and the lives of others, but the way the pope is speaking seems to equate salvation with this encounter and ‘common journey’ of human fraternity. The texts speak a lot about Christ and the Cross, but they do not speak about Christian soteriology or about the properly theological and spiritual meaning of salvation.”
Author John Zmirak addressed the studied ambiguity of the pontiff’s discourses, which he described as “a form of gaslighting.”
"Pope Francis's performances are episodes from 'The Objective Room' in C.S. Lewis’s apocalyptic novel That Hideous Strength," Zmirak told LifeSiteNews via social media.
“They seem designed to break down our sense of normalcy, order, clarity and sanity – to make us despair of our God-given faculties of discernment, and collapse into a fideistic surrender to power,” Zmirak continued.
“His power over the Church, the State’s power over us, and globalists’ power over our governments. We can do nothing alone, only as termites in the colony. We are not dignified images of God, but interchangeable cells in a collective.”
Religious leaders and representatives participating in the International Meeting of Prayer for Peace included Bartholomew I, the patriarch of Constantinople; Haïm Korsia, the Chief Rabbi of France; Mohamed Abdelsalam Abdellatif, a Muslim who serves as the Superior General of the interfaith Higher Committee of Human Fraternity; Zen Buddhist monk Shoten Minegishi, a Sikh representative named Karmaljit Singh Dillon; and a Hindu representative, Divya Punchayil Prashoban.
The joint service included speeches from some of these assembled leaders and representatives, prefaced by a welcome from Andrea Riccardi, the founder of the Sant’Egidio Community, and a speech by the president of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella. After the speeches, a young women read aloud an “Appeal for Peace.” The representatives of different religions and nations lit a candelabra together and signed the Appeal for Peace.