Pope Francis calls for prayers for peace for Ukraine Pope Francis calls for prayers for peace for Ukraine 

We are not Christians if we wage war against one another

Commenting during the Sunday Angelus on the Gospel passage in which Jesus tells His disciples to love their enemies, Pope Francis lamented, “How sad it is when people and populations that pride themselves on being Christian see one another as enemies and think of waging war against each other!”

By Sergio Centofanti

Perhaps we will be crazy enough to go to war. A war in Europe with unimaginable consequences. But at least, let’s not call ourselves Christians.

We are playing with fire. Perhaps the invisible wars are not enough for us, those world wars that every year cause millions of deaths from hunger and poverty, from avoidable diseases, from the violence of so many forgotten conflicts, from everyday crime, from accidents at work or from that hidden war called solitude, exclusion, exploitation, indifference.

Then there is the war we know longer think of: the war against our children, who are killed in their mothers' wombs. Perhaps it is the most invisible war. Who knows if one day posterity will condemn us for this silent slaughter? Those who do not see these great wars take their own little peace for granted. We should not condemn ourselves to repeat the mistakes of the past.

Perhaps the pandemic that has already devastated the whole of humanity, killing without distinction, impoverishing the poorest and enriching the wealthy even more, is not enough for us. Today the even the threat of war increases the poverty of many and the wealth of a few.

The rage and hatreds that swirl around the world are worrying: the outbursts of violence, the words of contempt, the explosions of ferocity. The offences and insults among Christians themselves are similarly disturbing. Jesus said that we will be recognised by the love we have for one another. Instead, we need only look at social networks and blogs: we often witness clashes and unrestrained mutual aggression, even in the name of truth and justice. St Paul says to the Galatians: “If you bite and devour one another take heed that you are not consumed by one another!” (Gal 5:15). But if we who believe in the Gospel wage war among ourselves, how can we ask others not to wage war against us?

The Gospel calls us to love our enemies, to overcome evil with good. This sounds like utopia. Perhaps we will be crazy enough to go to war. But at least, let’s not call ourselves Christians.

21 February 2022, 12:26