Pope Francis sends out an appeal for peace “to prevent the mistakes of the First World War from being repeated in the Middle East, Iraq and Ukraine”GIACOMO GALEAZZI
“Enough with all these child deaths! It’s time to stop!” Aat today’s Angelus the Pope sent out an appeal for three crisis-stricken parts of the world: the Middle East, Iraq and Ukraine. “May God give the people and their leaders the wisdom and strength to carry along the path of peace with determination, resolving all disagreements with the tenacity of dialogue.” The Pope urged the world to “bear in mind the lessons of the past”, allowing “dialogue” and “peaceful reasoning” to prevail. With the centenary of the First World War just a day away, the Pope recalled the tragedy of the conflict. “I hope the mistakes of the past will not be repeated,” Francis said.
“All is lost when there is war but nothing is lost when there is peace. No more war. I think above all of the children, whose hope and future are wrenched away from them; dead children, wounded children, orphaned children, children who play with remnants of the war and are not able to smile; please stop, I ask you this with all my heart.” The Pope underlined the importance of “not putting personal interests at the center but the common good and respect for each individual.”
“Let us remember,” Francis said speaking off the cuff, “that all is lost when there is war but nothing is lost when there is peace. No more war!” Meanwhile, Vatican Radio has published some excerpts from the Pope’s discussion with the bishops of Caserta, the southern Italian city he visited yesterday: “Unity among bishops is important for the unity of the Church,” he said in one remark.
“Some Church historians say that in some of the first Councils fist would fly but bishops eventually reached an agreement. It is bad news when bishops start gossiping about one another and form groups,” the Pope said. “This is not good because the unity of the Church is broken, when we bishops should act as an example of Church unity.” “We are so often a Church full of angry people: this brings sadness and bitterness and there is no joy.” When we meet a priest who is constantly angry and tense, we think this man must drink vinegar for breakfast, eat pickled vegetables at lunch and have a long tall lemonade at dinnertime,” the Pope joked. “This kind of life is not good because it gives the image of an angry Church.” “Joy is the right way to go. Feeling angry is normal, it’s ehalthy to feel angry now and again. But living in a constant state of anger is not what the Lord wants and it leads to sadness and division.” “What we need to do is to open up to people and say the right thing, with patience.”
But the most striking reflection Francis shared with his audience today, was that about children in conflict areas being denied their childhood: “Let us remember taht all is lost when there is war but nothing is lost when there is peace. Brothers and sisters: no more war, no more war. I think above all of the children, whose hope of a respectable life and of a future are wrenched away from them; dead children, mutilated children, children who play with remnants of the war instead of toys please stop, I ask you this with all my heart, stop, please.”