After his usual Sunday Angelus message, the Pope added a brief reflection on his visit to the World War I shrine of Redipuglia and the Austro-Hungarian Cemetery.
The Pope said, “I prayed for all those who died in the Great War. The numbers are staggering: we are talking about 8 million young fallen soldiers and some 7 million civilians.”
Repeating a comment he made September 13, the Pope insisted that “war is madness!–a madness from which mankind has still not learned the lesson, because after it there was a Second World War and many more that are still in progress.”
“When will we learn this lesson?” the Pontiff asked rhetorically. “I invite everyone to look at Christ Crucified to understand that hatred and evil are defeated with forgiveness and goodness, whereas war only increases evil and death!”
The Pope also assured his prayers for the UN peacekeeping mission beginning tomorrow in the Central African Republic. “Let violence give way to dialogue,” the Pope intoned, “and opposing factions leave aside special interests and strive to ensure that every citizen, irrespective of ethnicity or religion, can work together to build up the common good.”