Pope Francis Pope Francis 

Pope Francis: 'Integral disarmament is not a utopia'

The Pope reflects on the meaning of the Resurrection in a message published by the weekly Italian magazine L’Espresso. He turns his attention to the war in Ukraine and in other countries and quotes Pacem in Terris, as a source from which to find the courage to say “no” to rearmament and violence "because true peace cannot be born of fear".


What can we hope for in a world that is so scarred by war and violence? We continue to see the terrible images that reach us from tormented Ukraine, and too often, we do not remember other forgotten conflicts, other hotbeds of violence, the many 'pieces' of the Third World War that we are unfortunately living through.

Today is Easter, today for us Christians, the Prince of Peace rises again, that Jesus of Nazareth who, upon his entrance into the Upper Room where his apostles were gathered, full of fear for having seen him die on the cross, said to them: "Peace be with you!"

Peace be with you is the greeting we exchange on this day. To truly say 'no' to war and violence, it is not enough just to silence weapons and stop the aggressors. It is necessary to uproot the roots of wars and violence, which are resentment, envy, and greed. I like the fact that these days some media, like your weekly magazine, decides to give a space and a voice to peacemakers. One must have the courage to 'disarm' hearts, to 'demilitarise' them, to remove poison and resentment.

We must also have the courage to say 'no' to the rearmament that we are unfortunately witnessing because true peace cannot be born of fear. What is needed is what sixty years ago St John XXIII, in his encyclical Pacem in Terris, called 'integral disarmament': the criterion of the absence of war that is based on an equal balance of armaments, must be replaced by the principle that true peace can only be built in mutual trust.

I realise that to some ears these words may sound utopian, especially at this time. But it is not utopian, it is healthy realism: only by stopping the arms race, which takes away resources to fight hunger and thirst and to ensure medical care for those who have none, can we avert the self-destruction of our humanity.

It is for this reason that together with my wishes for a Happy Easter I repeat, in the words of the Risen Jesus: peace be upon you!

Disclaimer: This is an unofficial, working translation.

Thank you for reading our article. You can keep up-to-date by subscribing to our daily newsletter. Just click here

07 April 2023, 17:24