10/25/2022, 19.46
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Pope, world religious leaders call for an immediate universal ceasefire

Leaders representing the world’s Christian confessions as well as Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism pleaded and prayed for peace at Rome’s Colosseum. Francis bemoans that “even after Hiroshima and Nagasaki,” nuclear weapons “continued wrongly to be produced and tested.” He said: “do not resign yourselves! [. . .] let us cultivate seeds of reconciliation.”

Rome (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis together with representatives of the world’s great religions spoke this afternoon at Rome’s Colosseum, issuing a new plea for peace during a prayer, following the International Meeting for Peace organised by the Community of Sant'Egidio. This year’s them was “The Cry for Peace. Religions and cultures in dialogue”.

“Let a universal ceasefire be declared at once,” said the leaders of world religions. “Let negotiations capable of leading to just solutions for a stable and lasting peace be activated soon before it is too late. Let dialogue be resumed to cancel the threat of nuclear weapons.”

The pontiff along with representatives of other Christian confessions, as well as Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Sikhism signed the appeal, which was read by Elissar, a young woman who arrived in Italy as a refugee from war-torn Syria and is now a university student in Rome.

Each leader undertook the same commitment, each in their own way in the evocative setting of the Colosseum, praying for peace in accordance with their respective religious tradition.

"We turn thoughtfully to the world and to government leaders. We speak out for those who suffer from war, refugees and the families of all the victims and the fallen. With firm conviction we say: ‘no more war. Let us stop all conflicts.”

The religious leaders went on to say that, “It is our duty to help disarm hearts and call for reconciliation among peoples. Unfortunately, even among ourselves we have at times been divided, abusing the holy name of God”. Hence, “we ask forgiveness for this, with humility and shame. [. . .] Peace is holy; war can never be holy!”

“The world, our common home is unique and does not belong to us, but to future generations. Therefore, let's get rid of the nuclear nightmare. Peace is always possible."

Pope Francis too mentioned the nuclear threat in his address. The “plea for peace is often stifled, not only by hostile rhetoric but also by indifference. It is reduced to silence by hatred, which spreads as the fighting continues.”

“Today, in fact, something we dreaded and hoped never to hear of again is threatened outright: the use of atomic weapons, which even after Hiroshima and Nagasaki continued wrongly to be produced and tested.”

In this context, the pope cited the timeliness of the words spoken exactly 60 years ago by John XXIII who, in his radio message during the Cuban missile crisis, said: “Promoting, fostering, and accepting dialogue at all levels and in all times is a rule of wisdom and prudence that attracts the blessing of heaven and earth”.

“This is what we will strive to do ever better each day,” Francis said in concluding. Indeed, “do not resign yourselves! [. . .] let us cultivate seeds of reconciliation. [. . .] So be it, with God’s grace and the good will of the men and women whom he loves.”

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