Pope to Italian craftsmen: 'World needs artisans of peace and fraternity’

Pope Francis addresses members of the Italian association of craftsmen, and encourages them to be artisans of peace, fraternity, and beauty.

Feb 12, 2024

Pope Francis meets members of Confartigianato in the Paul VI Hall (ANSA)

By Lisa Zengarini
Meeting on Saturday with members of Confartigianato, the Italian association of craftsmen, Pope Francis exhorted them to be artisans of peace and fraternity in a world ravaged by war in which the poor are discarded. “May your hands, your eyes, your feet be a sign of a creative and generous humanity”, he said.

Technology can't replace human creativity
The Pope started his address by noting that since the association's foundation in 1946, craftmanship has undergone significant transformations, with new technologies increasing the sector's potential. However, he remarked, technology must not replace human imagination, created in the image and likeness of God: “Machines replicate, even with exceptional speed, while people invent!”, he said.

Pope Francis  went on to further reflect on the feature of creativity that characterizes craftsmanship, remarking that that their work is connected to three specific parts of the body.

Every person must be recognized in their dignity as a worker
The first part are the hands. “Manual labour involves the artisan in God's creative work,” and as such is “not equal producing,” said the Pope.  “It involves the creative capacity that can combine the skill of the hands, the passion of the heart, and the ideas of the mind. This makes craftsmen collaborators with God.”

However, the Pope went on to note, not everyone is fortunate to have this ability and some craftsmen can’t find qualified personnel for their workshops. He therefore encouraged those present not to hesitate to offer job positions to the most vulnerable, in society, namely young people, women, and migrants and also people with disabilities. “Every person must be recognized in their dignity as a worker”, the Pope stressed.

“Let us never clip the wings of those who aspire to improve the world through work and use their hands to express themselves.”

Collaborating with God's Creation and rejecting consumerism
The second part of the body needed for craftsmen’s work are the eyes, that is “the ability to see a masterpiece in inert matter even before creating it”. Indeed, the craftsman “is the first to understand the potential beauty of matter and this “brings them “closer to the Creator,” the Pope said, recalling that Jesus himself was a carpenter.

With their work, he continued, craftsmen teach us to “recognize the value and beauty of the material that God has placed in our hands”, His Creation, therefore to reject the “throw-away mentality” of our modern consumerist societies.

“Creation is not a collection of things; it is a gift.”

Artisans of fraternity
Finally, Pope Francis recalled the feet, as craftsmen's artifacts travel throughout the world meeting people's needs, and allowing to develop human relationships. This is why he said, craftsmen can be seen as as artisans of fraternity”, like the Good Samaritan.

“Our feet allow us to encounter many people fallen along the way, said the Pope  “and to “become companions” in  their journey, “amidst the culture of indifference”.

“Every time we take a step towards our brother, we become artisans of a new humanity.”

Pope Francis therefore encouraged those present “to be artisans of peace in a time when wars claim victims and the poor are not heard.”

“And may your hearts always be passionate about beauty”, the Pope concluded, entrusting them to the protection of Saint Joseph, the patron saint of craftsmen.--Vatican News

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