Destruction from a recent Russian missile strike on Zaporizhzhia Destruction from a recent Russian missile strike on Zaporizhzhia   (AFP or licensors)

Pope Francis: ‘War must end or world risks nuclear catastrophe’

Pope Francis anticipates the release of his new book “I Ask You in the Name of God. Ten Prayers for a Future of Hope”, and launches an impassioned plea for nations to set aside war and the threat of nuclear destruction.

By Devin Watkins

The Italian newspaper “La Stampa” on Sunday published an excerpt of Pope Francis’ new book, which hits bookshelves in Italian on Tuesday, 18 October.

Entitled “I Ask You in the Name of God. Ten Prayers for a Future of Hope”, the Pope’s new book was edited by Hernan Reyes Alcaide and published by the Edizioni Piemme. It comes in preparation for the 10th anniversary of his pontificate, on 13 March 2023.

In the book, he launches a universal appeal for nations and peoples to work together to build a better world where peace reigns.

Unambiguous condemnation of war

The excerpt released on Sunday begins with Pope Francis recalling that Church teaching refutes the idea that war can solve problems between nations, saying war is “always a defeat for humanity.”

The Pope said the war in Ukraine, which began with Russia’s invasion on 24 February, has revealed the horrors that result from war.

He also recalled the quick succession of the last century’s two world wars, and said we are currently experiencing “a third world war fought piecemeal” which threatens to expand into a full-scale global conflict.

“To the explicit rejection of my predecessors, the events of the first two decades of this century compel me to add, unambiguously, that there is no occasion in which a war can be considered just. There is never a place for the barbarism of war, especially not when contention acquires one of its most unjust faces: that of so-called ‘preventive wars.’”

Dialogue and hope are possible paths

War, continued Pope Francis, is never justifiable and can never act as a solution.

Rather, he said, nations must engage in “dialogue, negotiations, listening, creative diplomacy, and far-sighted politics which can build a system not based on the power of arms or deterrence.”

Peace must always be the goal of good politics and good Christians must always seek to dialogue with others, he added.

“We must all work together to pave the way for a common hope. We all can, and must, take part in this social process of peace building.”

Threats of arms trade and personal firearms

Reflecting on the diffusion of weapons, Pope Francis said the arms trade is one of the worst moral scandals of our era, along with the closure of national borders to those who seek a better life.

He pleaded with the leaders of nations to end the arms trade and to have the courage and creativity to replace weapons dealers with enterprises that promote the common good, fraternity, and integral human development.

The Pope also expressed concern over the spread of personal firearms, which he said has led to the proliferation of mass shootings and the accidental deaths of young children when guns are improperly stored.

Choice to live lies with us

Pope Francis then considered the threat of nuclear destruction, which he said the war in Ukraine risks unleashing.

Possessing nuclear weapons in immoral, he repeated, saying their possession undermines the paths of dialogue and respect.

Nuclear arms also put at risk humanity’s survival on earth, noted the Pope.

“It is unacceptable and unconscionable today that we continue to squander resources to produce these kinds of weapons, while a serious crisis looms that has health, food and climate consequences and about which no amount of investment will ever be enough.”

The choice to follow the path of non-violence and continued existence, concluded Pope Francis, lies with us.

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16 October 2022, 11:27