03/27/2022, 15.00
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Pope: the time has come to abolish war

More than a month after the beginning of the "cruel and senseless" conflict in Ukraine, Francis renewed his appeal to “Silence the weapons” and “Move seriously towards peace.” In his view, “We should not accustom ourselves to war. Instead, we need to convert today’s anger into a commitment for tomorrow” so as to “erase it from human history before it erases human history.”

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – In his Sunday meeting with the faithful for the Angelus in St Peter’s Square, Pope Francis slammed the” cruel and senseless war” in the Ukraine more than a month after it started, stressing the “need to convert today’s anger into a commitment for tomorrow” and ban war.

“[E]very war [. . .] represents a defeat for everyone, for everyone of us. We need to reject war, a place of death where fathers and mothers bury their children, where men kill their brothers and sisters without even having seen them, where the powerful decide and the poor die.”

Francis noted that “one of every two children has been displaced from their country. This means destroying the future, causing dramatic trauma in the smallest and most innocent among us. This is the bestiality of war – a barbarous and sacrilegious act!”

“War should not be something that is inevitable. We should not accustom ourselves to war. Instead, we need to convert today’s anger into a commitment for tomorrow, because if, after what is happening, we remain like we were before, we will all be guilty in some way.

“Before the danger of self-destruction, may humanity understand that the moment has come to abolish war, to erase it from human history before it erases human history.”

To this end, he urges “every political leader to reflect on this, to dedicate themselves to this! And, looking on battered Ukraine to understand how each day of war worsens the situation for everyone. Therefore, I renew my appeal: Enough. Stop it. Silence the weapons. Move seriously toward peace.”

Turning to the faithful, the pontiff urged them to “continue to pray untiringly to the Queen of Peace, to whom we consecrated humanity, in particular Russia and Ukraine, with such a huge and intense participation for which I thank all of you.”

Before the Angelus, Pope Francis spoke about the Gospel passage dedicated to the prodigal son from today's liturgy (Lk 15:11-32), focusing in particular on the exchanges between the merciful Father and the elder brother.

Speaking about the latter, Francis said: “He bases his relationship with his Father solely on pure observance of commands, on a sense of duty. This could also be our problem, the problem among ourselves and with God: to lose sight that he is a Father and to live a distant religion, composed of prohibitions and duties. And the consequence of this distance is rigidity towards our neighbour whom we no longer see as a brother or sister.”

The father “tries to make him understand that for him, every child is all of his life.” Parents know this state of mind and “are very close to feeling like God does.” Thus, the “Father opens his heart to his older son and expresses two needs, which are not commands, but essentials for his heart [. . .]: to make merry and rejoice.”

Making merry “helps to overcome the fear and discouragement that can come from remembering one’s sins”. As for those who make mistakes, “it is necessary to offer them a warm welcome that encourages them to go ahead. [. . .] God does not know how to forgive without celebrating!”

Hence, “When someone whose heart is synchronized with God’s sees the repentance of a person, they rejoice, no matter how serious their mistakes may have been. Do not stay focused on errors, do not point fingers at what they have done wrong, but rejoice over the good because another person’s good is mine as well!

Finally, “May the Virgin Mary teach us how to receive God’s mercy so that it might become the light by which we see our neighbours.”

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