File photo of Pope Francis with his head bowed in prayer  (AFP or licensors)

By Devin Watkins

Feb 11 2022

Pope Francis congratulates the Better World Movement on its 70th anniversary, and calls for Christians to help make the world more humane and peaceful.

As the Movement for a Better World (in Italian: Per un Mondo Migliore) marks 70 years since its foundation in Italy, Pope Francis sent a brief video message to mark the celebration.

He expressed his closeness to the movement’s members, and commended them for the extensive work they have achieved over the past 7 decades.

“It has been a vision of life, a vision of Creation,” he said.

Pope Francis noted that Pope Pius XII called for “transformation” in his radio message on 10 February 1952, entitled “Proclamation for a Better World.”

“He used a word: ‘wildness’. A wild world, which must become more humane, more Christian, but more human, because the Lord is always near to humanity.”

Efforts for peace and justice

Pope Francis encouraged members of the Better World Movement to strive ahead, resisting temptations to fall into discouragement. They are invited, he added, to continue to work to transform the world.

“Above all, I encourage you to work for justice, for children and the elderly, and for peace. This is a better world, which we want to be a world of peace.”

The Pope concluded his video message thanking the Movement’s members for their work and blessing them for their anniversary.

History of Better World Movement

The Movement for a Better World was founded by Fr. Riccardo Lombardi, SJ, at the request of Pope Pius XII following his 1952 Proclamation.

Fr. Lombardi—the uncle of former Director of the Holy See Press Office and Vatican Radio, Fr. Federico Lombardi, SJ—laid out a series of Exercises for a Better World, mirroring those of St. Ignatius of Loyola, and envisioned the organization more as a dynamism engaged with the Church and the world than as an organization.

The Movement took root in Italy and began work in the 1970s to study themes related to dialogue, secularization, and parish renewal, according to the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life.

In 1988, the Movement was recognized by the Pontifical Council for Laity as an international association of the faithful. -Vatican News