Pope Francis at the weekly General Audience Pope Francis at the weekly General Audience  (VATICAN MEDIA Divisione Foto)

Pope: God’s mercy never abandons us, even as world endures war

Pope Francis renews his prayers for peace in our world enduring countless wars, and recalls the 60th anniversary of Pope John XXIII’s landmark encyclical “Pacem in Terris”.

By Devin Watkins

“Today, as the world is increasingly tried by wars and straying from God, we need the Mercy of the Father even more.”

Pope Francis made that appeal for peace on Wednesday as he spoke to pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the weekly General Audience.

In his greetings to Polish-speaking pilgrims, the Pope recalled the upcoming celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday.

The Solemnity of Divine Mercy was instituted by St. John Paul II “as desired by the Lord Jesus and expressed through St. Faustina Kowalska nearly a century ago.”

Pope Francis continued his prayer for the world by quoting the prayer from the Divine Mercy chaplet: “For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”

Near the end of the audience, he added that the Lord “never ceases to be merciful.”

“Let us think about the mercy of God, which always welcomes and accompanies us, and never leaves us on our own,” he said.

Peace built on truth, justice, co-operation

Pope Francis also recalled the 60th anniversary of Pope St. John XXIII’s 1963 encyclical Pacem in Terris, which bore the subtitle “On establishing universal peace in truth, justice, charity, and liberty”.

He noted that the landmark encyclical dedicated to peace was written at the height of tensions during the Cold War.

John XXIII, said Pope Francis, opened up for everyone the possibility to speak about peace and laid out the parameters for building peace between peoples.

“His encyclical was a true blessing for humanity, like a ray of light in the midst of dark clouds,” he said. “His message remains relevant today.”

The Pope quoted paragraph 114 of Pacem in Terris to renew his appeal for international relations based on reason instead of strength of arms.

“Relations between States, as between individuals, must be regulated not by armed force, but in accordance with the principles of right reason: the principles, that is, of truth, justice and vigorous and sincere co-operation.”

He encouraged everyone to read the encyclical, and urged politicians to draw inspiration from it as they make policy decisions.

Prayers for Ukraine

Finally, Pope Francis recalled his oft-repeated appeal for everyone to pray for Ukraine as the European nation suffers due to Russia’s invasion.

“Let us persevere in prayer for the martyred Ukraine,” he said. “Let us pray to ease the great suffering of Ukraine.”

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12 April 2023, 10:02