Studium Theologicum Salesianum
Salesian Pontifical University : Faculty of Theology - Jerusalem Campus

French Consul General at the STS to conclude
the Academic Year 2012-2014


Jerusalem, 4 June 2013

The French Consul General in Jerusalem, honoured the Studium Theologicum Salesianum and delivered the key-note address for the conclusion of the Academic Year 2012-2014. He handed over the transcripts of marks to the graduating students. In his speech he stated:

… But I would like to stress another aspect of your years of training. What appears to me of utter importance is that you are trained here in Jerusalem.

I imagine that, for a Christian, there is no gift more beautiful than this one. But, as they say, with honour comes responsibility and I am sure that you also discovered all the load that you will be now carrying with you. This land, which is a home for Israel and Palestine, this “Holy Land’, as many like to call it, has been long suffering. It certainly is the home for two nations, two cultures, many religions that find here their origin or their achievement. But it is not only that. This land sends us a calling of which you have to be the voice. It is sending us a calling for peace.

Hearing this call, we are all the same, all equal, no matter if we believe or not, if we are diplomats, religious, priests or simple citizens. This call for peace is a challenge that diplomacy has to take up. It is a challenge for the French diplomacy that has inherited in this so special part of the world from a long tradition of commitment toward the Christians. A responsibility that I can assure you we are eager to continue to live up to nowadays. But it is a challenge that you also have to take up, a challenge for justice and peace, just to use a biblical vocabulary.

This call for peace is a call for action, an everyday action, an all-time action. I would like to highlight  two aspects of this action :

- First, we have to fight for Human Rights. The study of theology, philosophy and the Bible has certainly taught a lot to you in this field. Please be sure that this field, this battlefield is a place where we can join. You all know the attachment of the French Revolutionary ideal to Human Rights. This attachment runs so deep that sometimes France is being called the “Motherland of Human Rights”, which is sometimes a difficult name to bear …

- Second, we all have here to fight for tolerance and respect of all differences, we have to fight for a mutual understanding that will be source of peace. You are the faces of a universal church, of a catholic church. When the Salesian Fathers in 2011 wished to make of this place their pontifical university competent for the world over, they brought an invaluable richness. This call for tolerance and openness is all the more important here that millions if not billions of faithful regard Jerusalem as their spiritual homeland.

Before concluding, please forgive me to say a few words about our French language. When the Ratisbonne Brothers came to Jerusalem, they used the French language as a vehicle for their message and for the knowledge they wanted to convey. I know, time has been passing by and vehicles have been changing. You were taught in English and that’s for the best. Let’s not have any misunderstanding about that ! But let me give you this small piece of advice : English is a good vehicle, but don’t hesitate to try others and change frequently ! Be sure that French language is also a good vehicle, both a SUV and a race car !

Dear Friends,

Be faithful towards Jerusalem, don’t hesitate to ask a lot of Israel and a lot of Palestine. Offer them all your richness and all your differences. Be always attentive to their hopes and sufferings in order to accompany them on the way to peace and reconciliation.

Be all faithful and trustworthy ambassadors of the Holy Land!”

Frédéric Désagneaux
French Consul General

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