50th anniversary

Rights: Mgr. Jurkovic (Holy See), “great similarities between Pope Francis and Martin Luther King”

Martin Luther King is a key figure in the defence of human rights. With him a new period began, one that is also characterised by general development in society, democracy, and so on. He will probably always be considered one of the greatest men of the twentieth century, a man who “inspired others” to follow in his footsteps. In any case, we have to acknowledge that he marked the beginning of a new “historical period”. On the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King (4 April 1968), the Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in Geneva, Mgr. Ivan Jurkovič, focused on the legacy of the Afro-American leader and on the points of convergence between him and Pope Francis in an interview published at www.vaticannews.va. The figure of the Afro-American leader, the website explains, is a source of inspiration also for Pope Francis, who referred to him in his historic address to the Congress of the United States on 24 September 2015, and who, less than a month ago, received in audience Martin Luther King’s youngest daughter Bernice Albertine, who is also committed to non-violence. “In many parts of the world, we see the rebirth of racism and discrimination… What can the Holy See do, what is it doing, by taking the example of a man like Martin Luther King?”. “The perception at the United Nations” is that what we can do today, what it is necessary to do, is to go “back to the same ideas that inspired Martin Luther King and are inspiring” today’s people: “the struggle for peace” must become global, and must engage political leaders too. “The perception is that Pope Francis is one of the few people really, consistently defending human rights… striving for peace”. The Pope believes that the only future worthy of the human person is one that includes all. And we must promote and defend this vision, which is also the vision of Martin Luther King: “we can all be happy, but ‘the surest way to be happy is to seek happiness for others’”, no one excluded, from the disadvantaged to the wealthy.