Pope Francis: ‘War must end or world risks nuclear catastrophe’
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.
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.
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.
The choice to follow the path of non-violence and continued existence, concluded Pope Francis, lies with us.
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