Pope Francis during his address to the Maltese authorities and the diplomatic corps Pope Francis during his address to the Maltese authorities and the diplomatic corps  (Vatican Media) Editorial

Outdated mindsets and the novelty of a dream of peace

Pope Francis tells Malta's civil authorities that the war in Ukraine did not break out suddenly, but had been prepared for some time with great investments and trade in arms.

By Andrea Tornielli

“In the night of the war that has fallen upon humanity, let us not allow the dream of peace to fade.” Though in Malta, Pope Francis has also spoken of what is happening in the heart of Europe. He pleads not to let the dream of peace, the hope of peace, fade away.

Echoing Giorgio La Pira, the Pope speaks of “childish and destructive aggressiveness that threatens us,” and of the risk of “an expanded cold war” that could suffocate the lives of “entire peoples and generations.” Not only of those who live in our land today, but of those who will come after us.

While many would hope that the Pope would have “blessed” the war, or at least toned down his uncomfortable words against a rearmament that seems to be unrelenting and unavoidable, Pope Francis pronounces troubling words. His words cannot instrumentalized or reduced to the simplifications of viewpoints.

The Pope clearly notes that childishness is re-emerging “in the seductions of autocracy, new forms of imperialism, widespread aggressiveness, and the inability to build bridges and start from the poorest in our midst.” He recognizes how difficult it is today to think with the mindset of peace because “we have become accustomed to thinking with the logic of war."

Pope Francis then speaks of the “cold winds” of war, which, even now “has been encouraged over the years.” Even now. In other words, it had happened in the past - in that past that we have forgotten but which our parents and grandparents know, one filled with Europe's fratricidal wars which flared up into conflicts of global dimensions. Even now, as in more recent times, when wars seemingly far from us were fought, killing hundreds of thousands of innocents and creating millions of refugees.

“Yes!” says the Pope with conviction: the war did not break out suddenly but had been prepared for some time.

In what way? “With great investments and trade in arms.”

This is why the Successor of Peter called the madness of the arms race, and why he invites us to enter into a different, new mindset: a logic of peace, a peace that is not based on fear and deterrence, but on justice, dialogue, and a new system of international relations.

How sad it is to see that enthusiasm for peace, which arose after the Second World War, has faded in recent decades. It is not with overflowing arsenals, nor with extremely powerful and destructive weapons, that a future of peaceful coexistence can be built.

In addition to peace, so many other major issues, such as the fight against hunger, poverty, and inequality, have been “relegated” from the main political agendas.

It is for this reason that Pope Francis makes this appeal from Malta:

“Let us help one another to sense people’s yearning for peace. Let us work to lay the foundations of an ever more expanded dialogue. Let us go back to gathering in international peace conferences, where the theme of disarmament will have a central place, where our thoughts will turn to future generations! And where the enormous funds that continue to be destined to weaponry may be diverted to development, health care, and nutrition.”


02 April 2022, 15:46