Meeting for peace: Appeal to reject war and 'choose life'
“All too many conflicts are presently in course. To leaders of nations we say: let us work together to create a new architecture of peace. Let us join forces to promote life, health, education and peace." Francis: "God will ask for an account, from those who have not sought peace or have fomented tensions and conflicts".
Rome (AsiaNews) - "The time has come to divert the resources employed in producing ever more destructive and deadly weapons to choosing life and to caring for humanity and our common home."
This was the appeal launched from the Peace Prayer Meeting "No one is saved alone - Peace and Fraternity", organized by the Community of Sant'Egidio. The gathering included in addition to the religious leaders, the President of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella.
The appeal was launched from Rome’s Piazza del Campidoglio, on the Capitoline Hill and it recalled that it was here that, "in the wake of the greatest conflict in history, the nations that had been at war made a pact based on a dream of unity that later came true: the dream of a united Europe”, leaders of the world's major faiths have stated that “war is a failure of politics and humanity”.
"We appeal – it continued - We appeal to government leaders to reject the language of division, often based on fear and mistrust, and to avoid embarking on paths of no return. Together let us look at the victims. All too many conflicts are presently in course. To leaders of nations we say: let us work together to create a new architecture of peace. Let us join forces to promote life, health, education and peace. The time has come to divert the resources employed in producing ever more destructive and deadly weapons to choosing life and to caring for humanity and our common home."
Pope Francis, in his speech, warned: “Peace is the priority of all politics. God will ask an accounting of those who failed to seek peace, or who fomented tensions and conflicts. He will call them to account for all the days, months and years of war endured by the world’s peoples! The words Jesus spoke to Peter are incisive and full of wisdom: “Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword” (Mt 26:52). Those who wield the sword, possibly in the belief that it will resolve difficult situations quickly, will know in their own lives, the lives of their loved ones and the lives of their countries, the death brought by the sword.”
Francis also recalled the document on Fraternity and for world peace and common coexistence, which he signed with the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, Ahmed al-Tayyeb, in 2019. This document wasalso cited by Mohamed Abdelsalam Abdellatif, secretary general of the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity, bearer of a message from al-Tayyeb in which the Grand Imam also comments on “the horrendous murder in Paris. In my capacity as sheykh of al-Azhar I declare before Almighty God that I dissociate myself and the precepts of the Islamic religion and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad - upon him the peace and blessing of God - from this sinful criminal act and from all those who pursue this perverse and false ideology”.
"The time has come - continues the Appeal - . The time has come to divert the resources employed in producing ever more destructive and deadly weapons to choosing life and to caring for humanity and our common home. Let us waste no time! Let us start with achievable goals: may we immediately unite our efforts to contain the spread of the virus until there is a vaccine that is suitable and available to all. The pandemic is reminding us that we are blood brothers and sisters.”
“To all believers, and to men and women of good will, we say: let us become creative artisans of peace, let us build social friendship, let us make our own the culture of dialogue. Honest, persistent and courageous dialogue is the antidote to distrust, division and violence. Dialogue dismantles at the outset the arguments for wars that destroy the fraternity to which our human family is called. No one can feel exempted from this. All of us have a shared responsibility. All of us need to forgive and to be forgiven. The injustices of the world and of history are not healed by hatred and revenge, but by dialogue and forgiveness. May God inspire in us a commitment to these ideals and to the journey that we are making together. May he touch every heart and make us heralds of peace.”
At the end of Francis's speech, there was a minute of silence in memory of the victims of the pandemic and all wars.
After the reading of the Rome 2020 Peace Appeal, the document was delivered to some children who handed it over to the ambassadors and representatives of national and international politics present. (FP)