It has certainly changed the history of the G7, the presence of Pope Francis in Fasano di Puglia, but perhaps also that of the pontificate: the first non-European Pope in the assembly of the so-called Greats of the Western world. And at the moment of greatest crisis, with two wars - among the many - of global scope underway, both at the centre of an incessant preaching of peace accompanied by the most intense diplomatic action implemented by the Holy See in recent times.
"It is my birthday," said the Secretary-General of the United States of the World, Michele Capasso, who was present in Puglia, "just as Chancellor Sholtz and the American flag (born in 1777) are celebrating today: the presence of Pope Francis is the most beautiful gift.
For Pope Francis's G7 no chair was prepared, but only a chair at the common working table, and on an assigned topic, Artificial Intelligence, important and perhaps decisive for the future, but still of a limited nature.
It was therefore not a usual condition, but Francis went further, to the point of transforming the event into a symbolic turning point: the pope not seated on any podium, but seated side by side with the "powerful", ready to pay their due homage, even to the point of standing in line for an audience lasting only a few minutes. A manner not taken for granted by the rulers of a time that, although deeply marked by secularisation, continues to express the need for confrontation, if not guidance, on the essential questions not only of politics but of life as a whole.
By participating in the G7, Francis initiated a process of his own, paving the way for what can be called, an outgoing pontificate.
There too a crucial theme of this time and of the pontificate, the centrality of the Mediterranean and the drama of migrations that are turning it into a "cold cemetery without tombstones". There too a symbolic theme of the existential peripheries from which, Francis said, reality can be observed better and deeper. At the G7 in Apulia, there was the need to rush to the bedside of a real 'field hospital', with wards that may be fully equipped but are incapable of providing the relief that humanity demands above all in terms of peace and social justice. In the end, Francis' G7 was a great act of generosity and cordial openness to the world. The specific theme of Artificial Intelligence, for which the Pope was called to the summit, also fits into this perspective, showing a Church capable of facing with an open face, with courage and humility, the increasingly demanding challenges that the future poses.