Pope Francis has once again weighed in on the issue of warand peace, this time in a messageto a meeting of religious men and women in Belgium.
Citing the pope who reignedduring World War I, Pope Benedict XV, Francis said that all war is ultimately awhich then proves difficult to control; it tears down what generations havelabored to build up and it sets the scene for even greater injustices andconflicts.”
The message, dated August 26, was read at the 28thinternational assembly of Men and Women Religious, sponsored by the Communityof Saint Egidio. The meeting, which ended Tuesday, took place in Antwerp andhas as its theme “Peace Is the Future: Religions and Culture in Dialogue 100Years after the First World War.”
Pope Francis stated:
When we think of the countless conflicts and wars, declaredand undeclared, which presently afflict our human family, blightingthe lives of young and old alike, poisoning age-old relationships ofcoexistence between different ethnic and religious groups, and forcing familiesand entire communities into exile, it is evident that, together with men andwomen of good will everywhere, we cannot remain passive in the face of so muchsuffering, so many “senseless slaughters.”
The Pope called on people of different religious faiths towork together to promote peace, in “the spirit of Assisi.” He asserted, “All of ushave come to realize that prayer and dialogue are profoundly interrelated andmutually enriching.”
The time has come for religious leaders tocooperate more effectively in the work of healing wounds, resolving conflictsand pursuing peace. Peace is the sure sign of a commitment to the cause of God.Religious leaders are called to be men and women of peace. They are capable offostering the culture of encounter and peace, when other options fail orfalter.