peace and order

[Rappler’s Best] The greatest connector

Glenda M. Gloria

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[Rappler’s Best] The greatest connector

David Castuciano/Rappler

‘For the second time, Pope Francis met with peace advocates and rights activists for the World Meeting on Human Fraternity. The two-day conference called for an end to wars, especially in Gaza and Ukraine.’

Belated happy Mother’s Day to all who mother with love and grit in a world that often makes us choose between love and work. Filipino working moms continue to struggle, as this survey shows.

It’s been quite a weekend for us at Rappler. For the second time, Pope Francis met with peace advocates and rights activists for the World Meeting on Human Fraternity. The two-day conference that called for an end to wars, especially in Gaza and Ukraine, began on Friday, May 10, and was headlined by Nobel Peace Prize laureates, such as Rappler CEO Maria Ressa, Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov, and Ukraine’s peace activist Oleksandra Matviichuk. 

At about the same time in New York, 143 countries, including the Philippines, voted yes to Palestine’s bid to become a full United Nations member and to recommend to the UN Security Council to “reconsider the matter favorably.” Yet, before this happened, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that they were going to fight even with their “fingernails” in response to the US government’s warning to withhold arms supplies over a planned ground operation in Gaza. The death toll in the war in Gaza has already passed 35,000 Palestinians, according to reports. Israel doesn’t care; on Sunday, May 12, it sent more tanks to the northern part of the strip – or what’s left of it – after a night of heavy air and ground bombardment.

How the world has changed radically since June last year, when the Vatican convened the first World Meeting on Human Fraternity.

  • It had just been more than a year after Russia invaded Ukraine in Europe’s “darkest hours” since World War II.
  • Pope Francis was supposed to physically join the Nobel laureates in that first meeting, but he was still confined in a hospital at the time after undergoing surgery
  • In their 2023 statement at the end of the meeting, 30 Nobel Peace Prize laureates, including Maria, called on countries and societies to prevent war, sexual violence, forced migration, and the manipulation of AI.
  • “We want to shout to the world in the name of fraternity: Never again war! It is peace, justice, equality that guide the fate of all mankind,” they declared. “Let us stop the manipulation of technology and AI. Let us put fraternity before technological development, so that it may permeate it,” they added. Read the full text here.
  • AI has since upended our work and turbo-charged disinformation. A Filipino Catholic priest called on the Church to address the “challenges, opportunities and threats” of AI for its “life and mission.”

As inhumanity persists in Gaza, Pope Francis told the human rights advocates that he met face to face on Saturday, May 11: “Dear brothers and sisters, war is a deception, war is always a defeat, as is the idea of international security based on the deterrent of fear. This too is a deception.” 

Paterno Esmaquel II, our senior reporter who covers faith and spirituality, was in his “what on earth just happened” moment as Maria asked him to join her in this one-of-a-kind meeting with the Pope. Rappler’s former news editor, Paterno has been covering religion for us since he joined Rappler in our early years; he led our coverage team in Leyte during Francis’ visit there in 2015. He now leads our faith cluster, which is behind the most productive and inclusive stories on faith in this part of the world and is engaged with a vibrant faith community on our Rappler app. Check out – and join – their conversations here

In this piece, Paterno walks us through what transpired on Saturday morning at the Clementine Hall at the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace. The meeting that brought together a diverse group is “proof that faith can serve as the world’s greatest connectors,” wrote Paterno. “Yes, faith has also stoked many of the world’s cruelest divisions – and yes, many of the most hypocritical people we know are people who call themselves ‘religious.’ But everything in the world is a mix of evil and good. And good always wins in the end.”

How, for instance, does one hurdle tech-enabled discord and navigate a deeply polarized public sphere? Maria tackled threats – as well as hope – in this Thought Leaders piece on the future of news. –

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Glenda M. Gloria

Glenda Gloria co-founded Rappler in July 2011 and is currently its executive editor.